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County Considers Resolution Targeting State Regulation

According to the Portage Daily Register, the Columbia County, Wis., Board’s planning and zoning committee - and possibly at least two other committees - are likely to consider a resolution opposing proposed state legislation designed to prevent local entities from regulating frac sand mining.

That’s because the legislation also might prevent counties from exercising control over other matters, Planning and Zoning Director John Bluemke told the committee.

Bluemke said the bills - Assembly Bill 476 and Senate Bill 349, both introduced last month - are intended to limit the extent to which local governments in Wisconsin may enact or enforce regulations intended to limit the mining of the durable, round-grain quartz sand used in the hydraulic fracturing process to extract oil and natural gas from rock formations.

But the measures also would limit some kinds of regulations that counties have enforced for years, including those related to non-metallic minerals mining, air and water regulations and requirements that users of roads pay for road damage.

“It’s not necessarily about whether you like frac sand or don’t like frac sand,” Bluemke said.

Bluemke showed the committee a resolution under consideration in La Crosse County, Wis., expressing opposition to Senate Bill 349 because it would purportedly limit local control. He said several other counties are considering similar resolutions.