Wisconsin frac sand mining finally given pause
The Lower Wisconsin Riverway Board voted in a 6 to 2 decision to deny any permitting of frac sand mining within the Wisconsin Riverway. The decision was met with joyful cheering and applause by the majority of concerned citizens present for the meeting yesterday at the Crawford County Administration Building. The decision removes about 60 acres out of the 300 acre mining site to be mined by Pattison Sand Company of Iowa.
Work at public education beginning to pay off
The national corporate mining interests have poured into Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa over the past months with offers of big money to farmers and land owners whose real estate sits on top of the coveted sand rock. They came like a thief in the night, employing covert tactics to gain control and grab as much sand rich land as money could buy before sleepy communities might realize the ill effects of frac sand mining to there quality of life and health. Mine operatives sought land owners who held positions of power on town boards who could be awarded a big check by voting in favor of frac mining, like Rod Marfilius. He is one of only three board members in the Town of Bridgeport who voted for permitting the Pattison mine; he got the check:
By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter KROG.com
Little did Rod Marfilius and his family know that under their Crawford County farmland lies coveted sandrock, which could bring riches for his family.
“It allows for financial stability and reassurance for my children to not have to worry later on in life,” Marfilius said.
Marfilius said he’ll continue to own the land, but Pattison Sand Company will have the rights to the tons of silica sand crews are expected to dig up each year.
“It’s an opportunity for us. It’s an opportunity for other people in the area to have jobs … stay in the area and not have to move away,” Marfilius said.
The tempting of Marfilius in Crawford County is not an isolated incident but a pattern of shady behavior repeated again and again in other counties.
Screening and Sifting at the Barron County Board
Reported by Free Wisconsin on Dec 1, 2011
Stacey Neuman was elected to Barron County Board of Supervisors just last April. Soon she found her way on to two committees that are the sifters and shakers of the frac mine controversy – the Agriculture and Zoning committees. When Neuman was elected, she lived in the district she represented, as required by state law. Here is where Neuman’s “frac sand mindset” of rule bending and manipulation surfaces.
Shortly after the election, Neuman sold her home in the district and moved out of the district to Rice Lake to live with her dad/step dad. Of course, the move would nullify her office on the County Board. Yet, the county has taken no action to require Neuman to resign or move.
Trempealeau County supervisor under investigation for dealings with frac-sand company
WHITEHALL, Wis. – A Wisconsin prosecutor is investigating allegations that an elected official in the state’s most active frac sand county used his office to advance his own sand mining interests while cloaking them in secrecy.
The fiery clash in Trempealeau County, just across the Mississippi River from Winona, is the latest ethics controversy to surface in the region’s burgeoning frac sand industry, as some officials seek to own a piece of the boom even while sitting on powerful local boards that regulate mining.
A moratorium in Trempealeau County, which will start Aug. 30, passed 12-0, with two abstentions and three members not present to vote. Several other counties and townships on both sides of the river have taken breaks to satisfy public concerns about a burgeoning new industry that has brought more than 125 mines, processing plants and rail sites to the region.
Cracks in the silica glass ceiling
The moratoriums being imposed on frac sand mining have come as result of hard work and continuing strategies to educate the public. Citizens began a campaign through organizations like the Crawford Stewardship Project and the Frac Sand Awareness group on face book, to engage the public in another conversation exposing the disturbances to the quality of life and threats of ill health posed by frac sand mining.
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