Scenic Farmland and Sand Mine Concerns by Anita Adams
Anita Adams finds the hills and dales of Trempealeau County, where she gardens and rides horses and plays outside on the 49-acre farm she owns with her husband, to be one of the most spectacular landscapes she’s ever seen. Now, she’s seeing the woods, wetlands and prairies that her farm encompasses – not to mention all the surrounding communities and counties – being threatened by an explosion in frac sand mines.
She can’t go very far without coming across big open areas of sand, where the hills of this once wonderfully scenic area are now being stripped away and include huge piles of sand and mining equipment. Local roads are now heavily traveled with the sand trucks coming and going from the growing number of mining sites.Anita has always had a zest for improving and beautifying her surrounding environments. She’s an avid hiker, kayaker and explorer, not to mention a frequent entertainer who has been known to play the washboard. But what has transpired recently in her community has sobered her.
Mostly, Anita worries about the many effects of sand mining on water. Mines use huge amounts of water in their processing, drawing down the aquifers that residents use for their drinking water. Contaminants from sand processing threaten to pollute those aquifers, and the runoff that results from mining and processing sites flows into and contaminates local lakes and streams.
Equally frustrating to Anita is that she (and many others) actively support organizations such as Preserve Trempealeau County and they frequently attend meetings in their cities and townships to try to make their voices heard. She feels these efforts have had little or no influence against the monied forces of the frac sand mining companies. Anita notes that despite a Trempealeau County moratorium on issuing mining permits for one year, the process of approving new mines resumed without any of the unanswered questions and concerns being resolved.
“All aspects of mine approval sacrifice the quality of life here, and there are so many unexplored impacts in terms of traffic, land use, water quality, water usage, air quality and more,” she says. “Unfortunately, the people who live in these communities are not the people profiting. The natural beauty of Wisconsin can so quickly be depleted, to the detriment of so many and the financial gain of a very few.”
Click here to hear Anita talk about frac sand mining and its impact on water.