From: Stephen J. Doerr
I am nephew to the late Dr. Robert Doerr, who contributed much public service to Buffalo Township and County.
In late 2010, after seven years of public school teaching in South Texas and years of construction and OTR driving, I discovered an entrepreneur position of connecting Texas companies with our local farmers. The Texas companies were in need of a larger volume of silica sand than what century old Wisconsin companies, such as Badger Mining and Fairmont Minerals, could produce. The idea was perfect, small local mines creating small foot prints that would be closed in 2-5 years and create more useful farm land, while supplying needed bedding sand at no cost to the dairy farmer. These farmers stood to gain about $1 million dollars each which would allow many to pay off farm loans and create a more sustainable farm life for their families while economically stimulating their communities, the Ripple Effect.
Sadly, anti-mining groups (unaware of their need for industrial sands and the centuries of their use for food and daily living needs) and wealthy industry leaders influenced local politicians to STOP the local families from benefitting from the sudden need of silica sand to supply U.S. companies in securing U.S. energy independence.
The safeguards were in place for many years before this opportunity came to our community. Fuel tax revenue is given to local communities based on their mileage, maintenance, and repair needs. Air, water, reclamations and workplace protection is in place through extensive federal, state, and county regulations. The easiest tool used across the Midwest to control local farmers and their ability to benefit from this opportunity was MORATORIUM. Wisconsin DOT reported at the Gilmanton public meeting that, should a permit be approved, they would increase safety signage and build State Road 88 into their four-year construction plan for safer corners and shoulders.
This boom (2-8 years) of opportunity, for local small mines and the responsibility to share our natural resource with our neighboring states in exchange for petroleum products, needs to be answered swiftly. The first year of opportunity has been nearly lost. Kraemer Co. and Mathy Construction have moved a year late, but now are prepared to take over. With the river barges and Union Pacific so close, local farmers still have a chance, provided their government doesn’t block them with a moratorium or stifle their progress for the industry leaders. The government should not choose economic winners, but rather set fair rules and monitor for compliance. The demand is here and this boom is real dollars that do not have to be paid back to China, as with government stimulus packages.
Please do not extend the Buffalo County moratorium, as an extension will only seal local small operations out of business.