Concerns raised over potential Chippewa County white frac sand mine

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CHIPPEWA CO., Wis. (WEAU) -- There were tears and raised voices over a proposed mine in Chippewa County Monday night.

Northern Sands Wisconsin LLC has submitted a non-metallic mine license application to the Town of Howard.

There were statements made from those for, against, and undecided on whether or not the mine would help or hurt Howard and surrounding areas.

President Tom Gapinske spoke before public comment was heard saying he believe the mine will be beneficial for the area.

Gapinske said the potential mine would be in a prime location due to the Canadian National Class 1 rail line that runs through the around 1,300 acre site.

The company says the rail line provides access to adequate raw materials necessary to assure long term operations as well as to avoid trucking on public roads.

It also says there are plans to include noise, air, and water quality monitoring locations.

However that didn't stop many from strongly voicing their opinions against the mine.

One homeowner said she has serious concerns about what the mine would do to living conditions including the level of noise and impact to the areas scenic view saying, “This hurts all of us. I think some of the people who have taken this thinking they were going to make it big or it was going to help their family, they're going to regret it because they will lose the respect of this community.”

Concerns over the actual implementation of environmental codes and the estimated $180,000 dollar tax impact on the town due of the mine were also raised.

“All of my money I sunk into my house because in America that's what you do,” said one area homeowner. “Well we're going to give our nest eggs, $180,000 a year, to the board through the sand mine and the rest of us are going to go broke!”

There were some who were in support or on the fence about the mine one area farmer said, “I am in support of the project, I think it can be an economic boom for the township and I'd like to thank the town board for all the work you've done on this.”

There are concerned homeowners still demanding more answers including about Northern Sands' request to the board to operate 24-hours as well and over the mine's impact on groundwater.

Northern Sands says if approved it would take anywhere from a year to 15 months to begin operations at the mine.