WI Mines

Silica Mining Expansion in Wisconsin
Mining has been part of Wisconsin’s history and economy, both for good and for ill. Most of us are familiar with the many sand and gravel pits that dot our state. For the most part, we have not found them intrusive or worrisome. We understand that sand is an important resource used in many of the products that benefit our lives. Like all resources it is precious and finite and we should be thoughtful and careful about all decisions related to its extraction and use.
We welcome Development, but must guard against Exploitation

This new large scale mining of our Silica Sand for the oil companies is of a depth and size we are not accustomed to. Think: Mountain Top Removal. Where sand and gravel pits might operate seasonally, a few weeks at a time, these huge sand mines will be in operation all year long. They will be over 100 feet deep compared to sand pits that are typically 20 -30 feet deep. They will require the removal of many more acres of our valuable topsoil and trees and disrupt the wildlife we treasure. This type of mining will remove one hill after another, flattening our landscape. It is not clear if the land can be returned to productive agricultural uses. Year round transporting of these huge quantities of sand plus processing it in Chippewa Falls will use huge amounts of fuel and energy. The full cost to us is not even known, either environmentally or economically. Have you seen a reliable Cost/Benefit Analysis?

This new mining of our sand is not being done by local businesses for local use. It is for the oil and gas industries to use for “fracturing” oil and gas wells. Chemicals the Oil Industry refuses to reveal will be added to our sand. Then it will be forced into wells in attempts to remove dwindling supplies of oil and gas. This “mine fracturing” is increasingly suspected of causing contamination to our nation’s water supplies and in fact could be banned entirely in the near future. Do we really want to give up the land, water and air quality we already have for an industry that could soon be illegal ? For an industry that is contributing in large ways to many of the environmental crisis we are facing? The Oil and Mining companies will save large amounts of money by mining our easy to reach sand. Do we have guarantees that the sacrifices we make will be repaid with lower priced supplies of natural gas for our use? In fact, it is quite possible that start to finish, this whole process will use more energy than we will ever get out of it. Furthermore, there is nothing about this invasion of mining and heavy industry that fits with a sustainable, safer and healthier tomorrow for us and our children.

We know Canadian Sand and Proppants is trying to mine near Cook’s Valley here in Chippewa County. We also know they will need many more mines to keep feeding their Sand Processing Plant in Chippewa Falls. We are concerned because the EPA gives the Mining industry many exemptions -“free passes” – when it comes to regulations meant to protect our health and environment.

Please explore other areas of this website to learn more about our specific concerns for the city of Chippewa Falls. However, since we are also citizens of Chippewa County and Wisconsin we invite you to check out how many other Wisconsin locations are fighting against and being targeted for more mining. Pay special attention to the secrecy these “unknown” mining companies use to enter our communities. They don’t reveal who they are or what their connections are. Note how they don’t always keep their word. And they wonder why we don’t blindly trust them?

http://www.gravelisthepits.com/index2.html

Randall township, Kenosha County, WI
2004, website put up to oppose mining proposed by Thelen Bros. Sand and Gravel
Website full of helpful information, and photos
Have not determined if mine went in or not

http://www.loyaltytoourland.com/

Town of Howard – Canadian Sand & Proppants, Inc wants to mine here
This website is very informative – Please take time to learn what your neighbors are up against

http://www.saveourhills.net/

Menomonie, WI – Hoffmann Hills location
Proppant Specialists was name of Mining company, Ron Jordan was company representative
Community fought and won, keeping the mine out, but………

http://www.dunnconnect.com/articles/2008/08/04/news/news02.txt

A Mine and Plant went in at another Menomonie location, under different company name
Already, citizens are having complaints about:
road damage from trucks
mining company attempting to back out of earlier promises
Too much light coming from sand processing plant
Vibration from the blasting

“Although Fairmount Minerals asked, its wish to eliminate a condition from its special exception permit was turned down. ……Glenn Stoddard of Eau Claire urged the BOA to deny Fairmount’s request. He warned the board, ‘This is a slippery slope. They might come back and ask for the removal of other conditions. … If the condition is removed, you will have no control whatsoever, no limit on how many trucks leave the mine‘ ”

http://www.marshfieldnewsherald.com/article/20081104/MNH0101/811040363/-1/archive

Just announced. No evidence of community awareness or resistance
Please note the article, like most articles, presents only the positive aspects of mining

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=20225699&BRD=1132&PAG=461&dept_id=157660&rfi=6
http://www.ricelakeonline.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=16319&SectionID=32&SubSectionID=113&S=1
http://www.ricelakeonline.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=16323&SectionID=9&SubSectionID=95&S=1

Above 3 articles all about attempts to get silica sand mine in Town of Arland
Rischette said the people who met with the Arland Town Board said they represented mining investors but did not say which companies they represented, nor did they leave business cards.

http://mywebtimes.com/archives/ottawa/display.php?id=355612

Texas mining company buys land near Ottawa ( Illinois ) , 03/26/2008
These companies are just changing their name to hide true connections.

From: danc@mywebtimes.com

“A Texas company recently bought land a few miles west of Ottawa. CHT Farms, of Abilene, Texas, bought almost 80 acres ……. U.S. Silica has leased the land.

The Times made a telephone call Monday to Ronald W. Jones, of CHT Farms….Jones said they have no plans “for now.” He also declined to discuss the nature of his company’s business.

However, the phone number for CHT Farms also is the number for Proppant Specialists of Brady, Texas.Proppant Specialists. In December (2007), zoning officials rejected the company’s application to start a sand mining operation near a state recreation area in Dunn County, Wis. “

Comments

  1. Can anyone say Silent Scream? Can anyone say one sided distoration. I just happened to your site and this is the first thing I clicked on. To the easily fooled it will bring tears, most others will be able to see right through lies and misiformation. It says “Take “our” sand to Texas…” What do you mean, our sand?? If you own sand and don’t want to sell it to them I will agree that you have that right. I also would agree with the land owner who does want to sell their sand, that is their right. Nice attempt to make it sound like that by taking “some” of the sand in the area our water will no longer be clean and filtered. What a joke. Even the lamest gomers can see right through that lie. Even in the areas that will be most heavily mined there will be plenty of sand left to filter any amount of water. Just like it does in any area that never had bluffs or sand hills, although we will still have them. I live in Bloomer where we are lucky enough to have new business moving in because of the resource you question. The vast majority of people support this industry and for good reason. There will be no harm, and many new jobs are being created every day.
    Then they talk about the sand “mixed with diesel fuel and chemicals” ? and you approve of this misrepresentation and outright lie? I’ve studied the process, literally 99.5% of the “mixture” is water and sand. Diesel fuel is not used anymore, the remainder is chemical that you can find under your sink. Chemical that you use all over your house. Chemical being used thousands of feet below the water table in minute quantities. In an area that contains what? Oil and Natural gas! A tablespoon in comparison of common household chemcial going where vast amounts of gas and oil sit! Wake up!

    Just so you know, the tiny amount of chemical used has NEVER been proven to cause any problem of any kind. But, they already have the non-chemical organic replacement ready if the clowns in government ever ban what they now use. Fracking wells works great, and natural gas burns far more cleaner than the cleanest coal or oil. It’s here to stay. If you had a clue you would know that in the decades past lubricants and protectives (like straight diesel fuel) were used in massive amounts to drill ordinary oil wells. WHERE was the outrage then! Educate yourself and get a life!

    • the whisperer says:

      I will get a life when people like you seem to know all the environmental impacts of silica mining on humans, plant life, and the earth!

  2. Kelly Kozar says:

    I am new to this site but thankful for it…Has anyone else near the Thelen Gravel Pit near Richardson Rd and English Praire experienced changes in their well water? I would love to hear of any instances…..Thanks so much!

  3. the whisperer says:

    Camcorders must be required for placement at every mine and processing plant so that on going events can be recorded and/or continuously viewed 27/7/365. Unannounced visits must be allowed by the company for any official desirous of checking on potential violations and events that might injure the public in anyway. These expectations should be written into each DNR permit for the Company so there is continual observation if needed.

  4. Mary Kenosian says:

    Fabulous video.
    Schneider alone is advertising for 500 truckers to haul sand and other fracking materials.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/schneidernational/6127960364/

    Imagine that video with the sound of eighteen-wheelers roaring.
    Thanks for a wonderful video

  5. Hoffman Hills (mentioned in the beautifully written piece below), Red Wing (mentioned in the basic, but intensely artistic, hand-held video mini-documentary at the end), and Barron City (that I refer to in my introduction below) are all towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where the land is being raped by the oil and gas industry to get at “frac sand” used in the horizontal drilling process that is spreading like wildfire across our nation to obtain more natural gas for an amazingly stubborn, self-centered and environmentally ignorant portion of the population.

    Please take some time to read the Hoffman Hills piece below (especially the last paragraph – several times) and watch the Red Wing video to its conclusion. You will see that what is being presented here is NOT just a local outcry for help from a couple of small rural towns in Wisconsin. It is an appeal emanating from the start of a chain of nation-wide destruction that permanently threatens not just our lives, but the lives of all Americans for generations to come.

    I also wanted to share with you this straight-forward appeal from a Barron City, Wisconson farmer:
    “So does anyone know how many acres it takes to feed each of us? It takes 1.2 acres to feed every person in our country today… 29% of our county works in the agriculture industry in one form or another. The Ag industry is not just the folks that get up every morning to milk the cows, cut the hay and sometimes leave little piles of poop on the road. It is also those that get up to go to work at an implement, a coop, or a cheese factory to name a few….
    Let’s talk economics, some of us have heard that this new industry, frac mining, will generate some huge dollars for our local economy. There is no doubt it will create a handful of jobs and will on some levels, possibly not all, generate some tax revenue…. Farmers in Barron county contribute 1.38 billion dollars in our local economy through business sales and … farming contributes 367 million dollars of our county’s income annually. Farming pays 29 million dollars in taxes and this does NOT include the property tax portion that is needed for our schools, so think about the farms around you and what they do pay into our school systems. These are truly amazing and proven numbers…taken from FSA in Barron. So really think about some of the above mentioned numbers and how they affect you personally, and as a member of this fine community…”

    As you read the text and view the video below, please keep the following environmental axiom in mind:
    “All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts …The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land…In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from that of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it”
    The Use Land by Neil Koch, Retired Hydrologist who successfully worked with the Save Our Hills group and stopped the mining/processing plant at Hoffmann Hills in Menomonie, WI
    The Use of Land, a task force report sponsored by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund around 1974 states that — All environmental problems are outgrowths of land use patterns. Constitutionally jurisdiction over land use rests with the states. Historically, the states have delegated this authority largely to localities. The chief device localities have employed for regulating land use is zoning. Zoning is mainly a means of protecting established property values.
    Land traditionally has been considered nothing more nor less than private property, and how it is used has been determined largely by the marketplace – the almighty dollar. As with our other environmental problems, economics has proved a disastrously inadequate regulator.
    Atrocities committed against the land have become so aggravated as to impel nearly all states in recent years to institute restraints of one sort or another–wetlands control, strip mining regulations, “critical areas” protection, and so on. A change is needed in the concept of land from that of mere private property to that of a limited national resource, with an inherent public interest transcending owners prerogatives.
    The report stresses as a prime requirement the preservation of open space (which, once gone, is almost impossible to re-create).
    Dr. Thomas Chisholm, a local retired physician who has set up numerous free health clinics and who has been active in many community activities has provided this commentary:
    When the protection of natural, cultural or aesthetic resources or the assurance of orderly development are involved, a mere loss in land value will never be justification for invalidating the regulation of land use.
    Aldo Leopold in the Sand County Almanac says “All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts …The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land…In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from that of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it”
    Big Oil, with the local assistance of those whose vision is “like the iron mines of Minnesota, unique to the world” is a re-invasion in the decimated pine forests of 19th century Wisconsin that preceded a solid agriculture economy on productive soil over substratum of sand and sandstone. The gargantuan open pit mines are south of the glacial escarpment along the Ice Age Trail and the Ice Age Interpretive Center located in northern Chippewa County. This invasion is not unique, it is a disaster of great proportions similar to all open pit mining requiring the removal of “the over burden,” the rolling green hills, fields, flora and fauna, home to all phylum of living and inert organisms who reside in that beautiful landscape. Fossil fuel rather than alternative energy is the cry for jobs and money for those who lease or sell their farmland and forests. It is short-term vision; low paying jobs for the local population, investment and dividends for non-resident Big Oil directors and stockholders. Open pit mining ventures that remove green, fertile fields, hill, the beauty and history of this area is the antithesis of the Land Ethic so carefully described by Aldo Leopold in his environmental bible, A Sand County Almanac. The “frac sand” and its processing plants transport a chemical product that in addition to noise, air and light pollution, requires phenomenal quantities of water, contaminates drinking water with methane and injures the earth. Reclamation is not merely dumping residual sand in 90 feet deep pits. Restoration of the earth is eternal. Economic expedience for short-term gain in a world of rising temperatures, eternal warfare and available alternative energy sources is ethically and esthetically immoral.

    • Heather Andersen says:

      Thank you for a wonderful video that tells it all! Thanks for being involved. Thanks for your help in getting the information out. Thank you for your time and talent. Thanks for everything that you do!
      Heather/CovenTree

Courteous, concise comments relevant to the topic are welcome, whether or not they agree with the views that predominate here. Long rants proclaiming the infallibility of your own views or favorite ideology will not be posted, neither will repeated attempts to hammer on a point already addressed, nor will comments containing profanity, abusive language, flame-baiting and name calling. Please indicate precisely what you are blogging about. I just got a post from ? E-Mail ? which said: "Is this going to be OUR furture??. I have no idea what they were referring to and no way to contact them. This is why we prefer comments that are signed by actual persons who leave their E-Mail address (it won't be published) so they can be contacted if questions arise.

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