The Sierra Club organized a protest at Starved Rock State Park in LaSalle County, Ill., to speak out against Mississippi Sand’s proposed 200-acre mining and processing plant just outside the park.
The rally for Starved Rock came just more than a week after a draft of Mississippi Sand's final permit was posted on the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s website. The permit, required by the Federal Clean Water Act, would stipulate the manner in which Mississippi Sand can release discharge, containing pollutants, into Horseshoe Creek. The creek runs through Starved Rock State Park and into the Illinois River. The permit is reportedly the last one Mississippi Sand is required to obtain before mining can start next year.
The Buffalo County, Wis., Board of Adjustment unanimously approved a frac sand mining operation along State Hwy. 37 south of Mondovi, Wis. The county’s three-member zoning board of adjustment unanimously approved three permits for adjacent landowners to do surface mining on 171 acres, as well as build a sand-washing facility. The board issued 20-year permits with as many as 50 operating conditions, including setting truck traffic at 300 sand loads on weekdays. Trucking will not be allowed from 7 a.m. to 8:05 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. to 5 p.m. during school days. Board of Adjustment members Dale Klopp, Ron Kazmierczak and Chris Weisenbeck said the JLS Sands mining plan was compatible with adjacent agricultural land uses.
The growth boom in Wisconsin’s frac sand industry appears to be slowing, according to WisconsinWatch.org. In June, the Center found 107 already permitted or proposed industrial sand facilities in the state – 160 percent as many mines, processing plants, and rail load-outs as there had been the previous summer. In the past four months, the number has only grown to 115. At least 37 mines are now operating, and 41 more have received permits. Anti-mining activists scored several major victories recently, including the denial of permit proposals in Buffalo, Trempealeau, and Eau Claire counties. But market forces may be more responsible than community resistance for the slow-down in applications.