Lower Wisconsin Riverway Vs. Frac Sand Mining
Frac sand mining is crazy-making for people in western Wisconsin who care about land and water and their own personal health and peace of mind. Clouds of dust, heavy truck traffic, proposals for mines and processing plants ramrodded through local governments, heavy-handed attempts by legislators acting as shills for the mining industry to take away control of sand operations from local governments.
And on and on.
The madness hit one local government — the governing body of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway — hard last year, where a sand mining operation was proposed right next to the (supposedly) protected Lower Wisconsin Riverway. Last August, the Riverway Board denied the mining company a permit to mine within the Riverway boundaries. The mining company promptly sued; the case is pending.
To stave off further sand mining insults, the Board is proactively proposing to the Legislature changes to the statutes that provide the Board its authority. This is a gutsy move, given the hostility to conservation in the Legislature and lawmakers’ willingness to dance to the sand industry’s tune. The Board could be easily done away with by legislative fiat.
We commend the Board and its executive director Mark Cupp for standing up for what may be Wisconsin’s popular and iconic river segment.