From: Tom Bice
The Trempealeau County Board voted to put a moratorium in place for new sand mines. During this meeting, the board had the opportunity to hear the legal opinion from an attorney from our insurance company who had come from Milwaukee for this purpose. He felt very strongly that we needed to know the potential outcomes if we enacted a moratorium. He stated he’d only give his opinion in closed session, and the board voted to not go into closed session.
I repeatedly encouraged the board to go into closed session so we could hear the attorney’s opinion. Several board members said, “Anything said should be public,” and they didn’t want any secrets. The information I was after was vital and was for the good of the public; my goal wasn’t to be secret but to ensure we had all the information to make a wise decision.
Here’s an excerpt from WPR.org where I was quoted: “Supervisor Tom Bice questions the ability of a rural county without many resources to find links between health problems and frac sand mining that state and federal agencies haven’t found. ‘For Trempealeau County to take on ... some kind of fact finding mission, going up against the EPA and all the other organizations that have done this time after time: it’s almost ridiculous.’”
As my quote shows, I don’t believe Trempealeau County has the resources to conduct complex studies that will show anything that hasn’t already been shown by studies from numerous agencies, yet we’re going to spend lots of taxpayer money attempting to do so. We should be more responsible with the hard earned tax money we extort from the public.
I’ve attended every frac sand permit meeting held by the county, listened to all of the testimony, and asked the individuals and experts to send me a verifiable source for the statements they made, and many agreed to do so. It’s rare when they send me info, but when they do, it doesn’t verify what they claimed. Some have even sent info from the CDC, which I consider to be a great source for health issues. The trouble is it doesn’t support the statements given in testimony.
Sand mining in Trempealeau County is additional activity, and does make life a bit more challenging. But my observation is it’s a tiny fraction of the other everyday activities in everyday life. Sand mining in an agricultural zoned area of Trempealeau County has been legal for many years and requires a Conditional Use Permit.
County Board member Sally Miller stated “we really don’t have any proof that it’s a health hazard.” It should be noted that Badger Mining in Jackson County has been mining this sand for nearly 40 years. I have repeatedly asked for the name of even one person who’s had health issues from this, but no one’s come up with a name!
By the way, Badger was named the “Best Small Company to Work for in America” for two years in a row!