Skip to main content

On Thursday, March 28, two members of the DeForest Area Progressives drove 2 & 1/2 hours north to Whitehall WI, pop. 1558, the county seat of Trempeleau county. The purpose of this visit was to show solidarity with a group of concerned citizens who were seeking a moratorium on sand mining in the county, which is now home to 25% of Wisconsin's permitted sand mines.

One of us spoke at the public meeting and explained that we had come as concerned citizens of a county that also contained sandstone worth mining who were also concerned about the environment and the impact that the economics of mining would have on the relationships within a community. After a break, one of the farmers who had sold his land came over and said that he was now having second thoughts because many of his neighbors were reacting in ways that he had not expected.

One of the speakers represented the mining company. He described himself as "a sand miner from Michigan." Based on his command of his subject matter and his speaking style, I would guess that he was both a public relations person and a graduate of a mining degree program rather than JUST any old sand miner from Michigan. His presentation SEEMED to answer many of the questions that would have been raised, such as: how will the Trempeleau river be protected from storm runoff; how will the land be reclaimed after the mining is done; how many trucks per day will use the highway, etc.

During the public statement part of the meeting, Heather Andersen, of the Save the Hills group in Chippewa county, spoke on the subject of mining company "promises." She said that her group had received photographs of mining pond leaks and storm overflows from hikers; that mining companies had routinely been fined for drilling too many high capacity wells and/or pumping too much water per hour; that mining companies had also been fined for additional air and water quality issues, especially regarding dust from the sand that was too fine to be used in fracking.

All in all, the trip was both educational and depressing. I highly recommend that every progressive in the southern third of Wisconsin or Minnesota take the time to search out sand mines to the north of you, even if only on the web. These things are erupting like measles or small pox on the face of the land and are turning neighbor against neighbor. And what is worse: the miners are moving south.

One can paraphrase the words of Pastor Niemöller: First they mined in Barron county, but I didn't speak out because I wasn't a farmer and I did not live there. Then they mined in Chippewa county and I didn't speak out because I lived three hours south. Then they mined in Trempeleau county, and I didn't speak out because I lived over 2 hours south. Then they came to mine Dane county, and there was no one left to speak for me because the rest of the state was a devastated wasteland.

I sincerely hope that it does not come to the miners ripping at Castle Rock or the Dells before we get our act together and start putting pressure on the legislature to force some state regulation of non-metallic (aka sand) mining!

- Karen Edson

Originally posted to Wisconsin Grassroots Network on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 03:56 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Democracy Addicts.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site