In a unanimous vote, the Trempealeau County Board enacted a one-year moratorium on new and expanded frac sand operations. In response to citizen concerns about long-term health affects, the county will prohibit new frac sand mining, washing, and hauling activities while the County Health Department studies whether the industry poses a threat to air quality and ground water.
A standing room only crowd cheered when the County Board voted 14-0 to enact the moratorium. Supervisors Tom Bice and Jay Low abstained from the vote. Supervisors Dave Suchla, Hensel Vold, and Airild Engelien were not present.
An 11-member committee made up of citizens, Health Board members, and health professionals will be responsible for leading the study and providing conclusions to the County Board. In particular, the study will examine any risks posed by silica dust, diesel fumes, and the use of the frac sand washing chemical acrylamide, Director of Land Management Kevin Lien said.
What is still being debated is whether the county moratorium applies to certain small towns and villages within Trempealeau County, Lien said. State statute suggests that it might be, he explained, but the county attorney has advised that they are not.