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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • A proposed frac sand mine appears to have the green light in far western Wisconsin, after a state appeals court upheld Buffalo County’s approval of the project, it was reported on WTAQ radio. A three-judge panel in Wausau, Wis., affirmed a circuit judge’s refusal to overturn a conditional use permit for R-and-J Rolling Acres to run a 125-acre silica-sand operation. The mine’s developer, Glacier Sands, said there were no laws against non-metallic mining in the county’s agricultural district – and there were no laws preventing a revised application from being taken up.
  • According to the Winona Post, a proposal to require air monitors to measure respirable frac sand dust at the fence lines of all frac sand facilities in the city of Winona, Minn., was rejected by the city’s planning commission. Based on other sites in Minnesota and Wisconsin where monitoring is being done, there is no reason to suspect that frac sand facilities are creating dangerous amounts of dust and no reason to impose more regulations on the industry, said Planning Commission Chair Craig Porter. Monitoring at Wisconsin frac sand facilities indicates that emissions of larger dust particles are below federal limits; however, those sites did not measure the size of particle the Minnesota Department of Health benchmark is based on.
  • According to the Allamakee Country Standard, after 16 months of research, the Allamakee County, Iowa, Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended a zoning amendment regarding extraction pits – some of which involve the frac sand mining process. Following a public hearing that drew more than 30 area residents, the commission unanimously approved an amendment to the Allamakee County Zoning Ordinance that addresses applications for conditional use permits for new extraction pits for frac sand, and the new use requests for the washing, refining, processing, storing or stockpiling of frac sand.