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Vista Sand Makes Progress on New Frac Sand Mine

According to the Pioneer Press, Glenwood City, Wis., has taken a step toward making a new frac sand mine a reality. The town’s city council voted 4-2 to approve a pre-annexation agreement with Texas-based Vista Sand, laying out a number of rules for the mine, which has been a controversial issue in the western Wisconsin city of about 1,200.

The council has yet to receive a recommendation from Wisconsin’s Administration Department on whether the annexation is in the public’s best interest. The annexation is a necessary step for the city to grant approval for the project. Otherwise, approval for the mine would rest with St. Croix County.

Several community members spoke against the proposed mine during a recent meeting, expressing concern about the possible health effects of silica sand dust and the noise and traffic that would be associated with the mine. The council also heard from several others who spoke in favor of the mine and the jobs it would bring to Glenwood City.

Much of the council’s discussion, however, focused on a memorandum of understanding being negotiated between the Glenwood City school district and Vista Sand. The site is about a half-mile from a school building that houses about 730 students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.

The proposed mine has been a contentious issue for Glenwood City, which saw an unsuccessful attempt by mine opponents to recall two city council members and Mayor John Larson last year. After winning recall votes in December, all three were re-elected April 1.