From: Roger and Noreen Haines
On November 7, 2013, Trempealeau County was served a lawsuit by AllEnergy. This is a result of the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for frac sand mining and rail spur denial on October 9, 2013, through the Environmental Land Use Committee of Trempealeau County. This CUP was for the AllEnergy, Cortland Farm, Gary Haines and Francis Pronschinske project.
The Trempealeau County Board of Supervisors met on June 18, 2014, to discuss a settlement of this lawsuit. Proposed to Trempealeau County by AllEnergy was a royalty/voluntary tax of up to $1 million per year when the mine is in full operation with sand being shipped. It also proposed to drop all pending legal action and any future claims related to their permit denial if it was issued the CUP. The board, with the advice of their attorney, turned down this initial settlement offer.
On August 18, 2014, the Trempealeau County Board of Supervisors met at its regular board meeting. The board allowed AllEnergy 15 minutes to present to the board a revised settlement offer. At this time, the settlement offer is a royalty/voluntary tax of up to $700,000 per year when the mine is in full operation with sand being shipped. AllEnergy offered to drop the lawsuit and all future claims if it were issued a CUP and a variance for the silos needed for its project. The board was also told that there are additional damages that were submitted to the court on August 4, 2014. This second settlement offer from AllEnergy expires at noon on September 5, 2014.
The board then went into closed session. We found out from the AllEnergy attorney later that this proposal was tabled. The board did not act on it.
We need to ask each member of that board why they did this. We have heard that the damages on this case are for $20 million dollars, and increasing by $2 million per month. The county has a limit of $10 million dollars of insurance coverage.
Questions we need answered:
1. Who is going to pay the excess of over $10 million dollars that the insurance doesn’t cover if the county loses this case?
2. What is in the best interest of the taxpayers — the settlement or the lawsuit?
3. Why did they refuse the $1 million offer in the first place?
4. Why did they table the $700,000 per year royalty offer? Over the life of the mine, this is $14 million to Trempealeau County. Who stands to gain or lose from this? Will it be the taxpayers? Why not turn a huge liability into a $14 million asset to the county?
5. Why are we spending the time and money on lawyers when the former chairperson of the Land Use Committee states that this is the best application he has seen at the county level?
Any questions, feel free to contact us.