17. Pepin County Board Votes to Protect Shore Strip Along Wisconsin Side of Lake Pepin from Frac Sand Mining

A 10-mile ribbon of popular bluff land on the Wisconsin side of Lake Pepin will be off limits to frac sand development under an unprecedented ordinance approved Wednesday night by the Pepin County Board.

“This is fabulous because it really protects all of the area of Lake Pepin in Pepin County. It’s a huge victory for us,” said Mary Logue, who was among the residents who pushed for the frac-free zone. “We’re really hoping it will be a template for other cities, villages and counties along the Mississippi that are fighting this.”

No Minnesota or Wisconsin county has flatly banned frac sand companies from operating in a defined territory. The Pepin County ordinance, which passed on a 9-3 vote, drew criticism from mining proponents and some County Board members, but a united core of residents around the villages of Pepin and Stockholm pushed for the frac-free zone on the premise that industrial sand projects would destroy the area’s natural endowments, wreck property values and impair the bedrock tourism trade.

“You would destroy fishing, boating, overnight camping and everything that goes with it,” said Pepin County Board Supervisor Bill Mavity, a lawyer and former Minneapolis police officer.

But Mark Krumenacher, who works for a company that sells services to a variety of mining industries, said other Lake Pepin communities in neighboring Pierce County have prospered from sand mining. The village of Maiden Rock, for instance, has long had an underground industrial sand mine.

“Tourism and quality of life clearly has not diminished in those communities, or in Stockholm and Pepin, during the period of industrial sand mining,” Krumenacher wrote this week to the County Board.

The ordinance bucks an industry that has rolled into a powerful position in Wisconsin over the past four years. The state holds vast deposits of uniquely formed silica sand needed by oil and gas drillers in other states as part of a national boom in hydraulic fracturing to recover crude and natural gas

The ordinance bucks an industry that has rolled into a powerful position in Wisconsin and Minnesota over the past four years. The two states hold vast deposits of uniquely formed silica sand needed by oil and gas drillers in other states as part of a national boom in hydraulic fracturing to recover crude and natural gas.

Mavity worked with Lake Pepin Partners in Preservation, a civic group, to rally local support for the ordinance, which was proposed after a frac sand group attempted unsuccessfully to build a processing plant and barge-loading terminal on a corner of the lake.

He said the zoning measure prohibits any kind of frac sand operation in a swath from the shoreline to the top of the area’s steep sandstone outcroppings. The ordinance is supported by the Wisconsin Mississippi Parkway Commission as a way to protect that portion of the Great River Road, which is a National Scenic Byway.

The two villages and two townships affected by the ordinance had already voted in support of it.

While Minnesota has fewer than 10 operating frac sand mines, additional mines and processing sites are being permitted in the wake of industry victories at the state Legislature this year. In Wisconsin, frac sand mining and processing has exploded from a handful of facilities three years ago to a nation-leading industry of 105 mines and 65 processing sites.

Tony Kennedy • 612-673-4213

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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