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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Buffalo County, Minn., zoning committee held a public hearing for residents to weigh in on proposed changes to the way the county regulates frac sand, according to the Winona Daily News. The changes define industrial sand mining operations, extraction, manufacturing, processing, stockpiling, transport and reclamation. Zoning representatives said the changes are designed to provide “impartial standards” to regulate mining through the county’s Land Resources Department.

The changes include:

  1. Applicants would be required to produce information including a full disclosure of those involved in the project, a detailed description of operating plans, water usage and reclamation plans, and other project elements before they file a permit.
  2. All trucks hauling mined product must be covered when in transit, and operators must obtain a highway department agreement before trucking can begin on a county highway.
  3. Rural town boards would have the opportunity to participate in and comment on any permitting process for an operation in their jurisdiction.
  • The largest frac sand mining and processing facility in Trempealeau County, Wisc., was approved after a nearly nine-hour public hearing and meeting, according to the LaCrosse Tribune. The Trempealeau County Environment and Land Use Committee gave the go-ahead to Sand Products Corp. – the parent company of facility operator Sand Products Wisconsin – to open a 716-acre mining, processing and, eventually, a railroad loading facility two miles south of Whitehall. The committee discussed the proposal for the first time on the same day they voted on it, after receiving their information packets last week. It voted to approve the facility with only one member voting against. The mine and facility is the 26th that’s been permitted in Trempealeau County.
  • Wisconsin’s Dunn County News, in an editorial, touted a bill introduced by State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout requiring those selling property to disclose knowledge of a contract, or an option to contract that allows for frac sand mining on the property. It would require local government considering a frac sand mine application to notify the public in advance through newspaper reports as well as written notices to property owners near the proposed mine prior to taking action. The legislation would also help residents and local governments be better prepared by requiring a license for those who are prospecting for mine sites. It would also require notification before drilling begins. Frac sand mining would be listed as a conditional use in areas zoned for agriculture. Requiring a conditional use permit will give local officials an opportunity to negotiate conditions for operation of a mine. Vinehout's proposal would require a 2,500-ft. buffer zone to protect neighbors from the impact of mines.