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LTE – Jim Laskin – 3-13-2013

On Monday, February 25th, Glenwood City’s City Council held a special meeting to hear about a proposal to annex over 400 acres of Glenwood Township property. St. Croix County is currently reviewing an application from this property’s owners and Vista LLC (a Texas based sand company) to turn these 400+ acres into an industrial open pit silica sand mine and processing facility.

 Highly disruptive industrial activity, such as is being proposed for this property, always needs careful review, but when such activity is proposed to take place next to a K-12 school and between two residential areas of about 1500 people, this review is even more important. St. Croix County has already carefully reviewed and approved two similar silica sand mines. Our county has the resources and expertise to do the thorough and thoughtful review of a complex project of this nature and has shown itself to be fair in giving all due consideration to the mine applicants.

It is with these facts in mind that I was struck by the request of Vista LLC and the land owners of the 400+ acre property to side-step thoughtful County oversight, instead seeing if they couldn’t talk Glenwood City into annexing the land and becoming responsible for overseeing this project.

Why would people (the owners of the 400+ acre site and VISTA LLC, the operator) who claim to have our best interests at heart be trying to avoid careful review by those in the best position to judge the safety of this project? Why are they afraid that a thorough review of their proposed operation might lead our County to conclude that this particular sand mine is not in the best long term interest of our County as well as our community of Glenwood City?

We all remember being told by one parent that something we really, really wanted we could not have because it was in fact not good for us. Then we tried going to the other parent hoping they would say yes. Good parents, of course, knew this game that little children play and would just smile knowingly and say “NO, please believe us when we tell you we are saying NO for your own good” because it really was for the child’s own good. Let us hope our elected officials have the good sense to see the game that is being played here and not fall for it. Let our County with its vastly greater resources, experience and expertise, that has shown itself to be very fair when reviewing sand mine applications, be allowed to do the job we hire them to do.

Jim Laskin