The Buffalo County Board voted to extend a moratorium on new frac sand mines and related facilities for another six months to allow county officials more time to review mine regulations.
The vote came during a special meeting on October 16, just before the first moratorium on new sand facilities was set to expire on October 31.
Commissioners Tom Taylor, Steve Weiss, and Allen Carothers voted against the moratorium extension.
A court appeal is pending on one of several approved mines in Buffalo County. R&J Rolling Acres, LLP, was awarded a permit for a new mine and wash plant at Highway 88 and Rose Road on 70 acres. Resident Mike O’Connor, along with the Cochrane-Fountain City (C-FC) School District, have appealed the decision. A judge is expected to rule on the challenge in the coming months.
Like the R&J Rolling Acres mine, the Johnson-Larson-Stanton application for a new mine and processing plant was submitted prior to the initial moratorium on the industry. It was the last such mine application pending, and the Buffalo County Board of Adjustments recently approved a permit for the mine activity. The permit allows for up to 300 truckloads daily, with half expected to head north to Chippewa Falls and the other half destined for Wabasha.
The Johnson-Larson-Stanton mine initially planned to send half of the sand to a truck-to-rail transfer facility proposed on land near the C-FC School. That permit was denied by Buffalo County officials. Zoning technician Jacob Sedivy said it is unclear whether the development company, Glacier Sands, will appeal the decision to deny the permit, as the 30-day timeframe during which a petitioner may file an appeal will not begin until the county has finished filing its paperwork.