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Glenwood School Board approves MOU in special meeting

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City Board of Education held a special board meeting on Wednesday, May 7 in order to discuss possible approval of the Memorandum of Understanding between themselves and Vista Sand.

Superintendent, Tim Emholtz put the revised MOU on the projector screen and read through each item in the contract which included things such as Air Monitoring, Trucking, and Blasting.

After the contract was read, Emholtz went around the table and asked each member if they wished to share a comment.

The consensus was that each member was happy with the contract and they were pleased with the effort Vista Sand and their attorney Anders Helquist have put forth.

Board President, Charles Rasmussen shared that this MOU is “something that no other district has that is as extensive and comprehensive.”

Once the discussion ended, the Board, minus Judy Achterhof and Lisa Kaiser, unanimously approved the presented MOU.

“Vista Sand thanks the School Board for their unanimous approval and we are pleased to enter an agreement with the Glenwood City School District. We thank the School Board, administration and their counsel for diligently working to craft a proactive Agreement, which helps ensure student and staff safety and demonstrates Vista Sand’s commitment to being a responsible mining company, which uses environmentally-sound mining practices,” said RJ Sikes, operating partner at Vista Sand, Ltd.

It was strongly expressed that even though the Board approved the MOU, this does not mean that they each approve of the proposed sand mine.

Some items taken from the Agreement are listed below:

The Technical Evaluation Panel (TEP). This panel was created as a way to address issues, resolve potential disputes that may arise in the mining operations and provide recommendations and comments to the parties, the WDNR and other pertinent entities as more specifically set forth herein.

The Panel shall consist of one appointed representative from the District, Vista Sand and the City of Glenwood City, respectively.

The appointed representative shall be a professional engineer or environmental scientist with experience in Wisconsin relating to air quality, dust control and experience with proposed or operational nonmetallic mining operations or nonmetallic mining-related facilities.

The TEP has the right to make reasonable requests for date from existing equipment, related to air monitoring or fugitive dust control, which is relevant to the TEP’s specifically stated responsibilities under this MOU from either party hereto and the party shall provide the data, provided the data shall be treated as confidential as allowed under Wisconsin’s Public Records Law.

Air Quality Monitoring and Control: In order to monitor air quality impacts of the Mining Operations on or near the District’s property, Vista Sand will prepare an Air Monitoring Plan and develop an Air Monitoring Program containing the components and consistent with the Exhibit provided.

Vista Sand shall be responsible for all costs of the Air Monitoring Program as well.

If an air monitor will be placed on District property, the District authorizes Vista Sand to install an air monitor and related structures and appurtenances (e.g. fencing, lighting, cameras, etc) on District property for the purpose of implementing the Air Monitoring Program.

Vista Sand may not engage in Mining Operations until a Monitoring Program or Monitoring Plan are drafted and, if pre-approval of the Monitoring Plan or Program is required by the WDNR or City, such Monitoring Plan or Program is approved by either the City or WDNR as applicable.

In order to mitigate potential fugitive dust discharge related to the Mining Operations, Vista Sand will also prepare a Fugitive Dust Control Plan containing the components and consistent with criteria in the provided Exhibit and with the WDNR requirements for the Control Plan.

No dry processing will be allowed unless approved by the City Council of the City of Glenwood City. If Vista Sand wishes to propose dry processing in the future, the TEP shall promptly evaluate and provide comments on the proposal.

Upon completion of the TEP’s evaluation, the District shall hold a public hearing on the proposal to allow for comment by District residents.

Vista Sand shall also conduct a public meeting on the proposal. Both parties shall request that the City hold a public hearing prior to considering any dry processing proposal and when the City holds a public hearing, Vista Sand may also jointly conduct their presentation and make their proposal during the City’s public hearing in lieu of a separate, standalone presentation.

Trucking Operations: Vista Sand will not, except in the case of life-safety emergencies, during the regular school year, engage in off-site nonmetallic mining trucking operations during peak busing hours, 7:20-8:20 a.m. and 3:10-4:10 p.m. and for special events, including nighttime events such as concerts, school-wide parent-teacher conferences, athletic events and the like.

Vista Sand shall request, and the District, at its discretion, will annually provide Vista Sand a good faith list of the special events on its calendar that will be subject to trucking limitations, with such list being provided at least one (1) month in advance of the special events.

All trucks used for the transport of nonmetallic minerals entering and leaving the Site shall be covered to prevent fugitive dust.

All trucks used for the transport of nonmetallic minerals entering and leaving the Site shall obey posted speed limits and other applicable traffic laws and regulations.

Blasting: At least 72 hours prior to initial blasting at a blast site, the blaster in charge at the Site shall make a reasonable effort to provide notice to the District.

The District shall also provide a calendar of anticipated standardized testing times at least one month ahead of the respective tests’ administration.

Prior to initial blasting at the Site, Vista Sand shall contact the District Superintendent to seek permission to conduct a pre-blasting survey as follows: Where the District Superintendent’s permission is given, a pre-blasting survey shall be conducted to determine the condition of buildings, structures or other improvements on District Property, including but not limited to school buildings and recreational facilities such as the school track, press box, football field, baseball field and the like, prior to the onset of blasting.

The pre-blasting survey shall be completed at Vista Sand’s expense.

Hazardous Materials: Vista Sand shall contact the District as soon as possible and no later than within two (2) hours, in event of a hazardous chemical or waste spills, leaks or contamination of any kind or in the event of a release greater than three (3) gallons of any chemical or known dust or particles above levels permitted by applicable regulations.

Cost Reimbursement: Vista Sand shall reimburse the District up to no more than $17,500 for costs it has incurred to date in analyzing the potential impacts of the Mining Operations on District Property, and in negotiating the Memorandum.

Said costs including, but are not limited to attorney’s fees and air quality consultant fees. After execution of this MOU, Vista Sand shall reimburse the District for similar reasonable costs it incurs in the future for its representative serving on the TEP or other out-of-pocket costs incurred by the District related to implementation of this MOU up to a maximum of $5,000 per year.

This Memorandum shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Wisconsin. All disputes arising out of this Memorandum shall be venued in a Wisconsin court of competent jurisdiction unless otherwise authorized to be heard by a permitting authority.