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LTE – Douglas Enloe – 6-10-2015

It appears that sand mining activity is starting back up. Wheeler is loading sand cars after being shut down for weeks due to low crude oil prices.

I assume that mining will start in Glenwood City in the near future. After studying the sand mine industry I have several suggestions.

In the contract I would require independent monitoring of air and water. Currently mines use their own monitoring. Also current DNR standards are inadequate and not being evenly enforced.

Also get money up front by requiring a per ton payment re ($4/ton) to cover future litigation and other problems. Many states have such funds set up to pay for future environmental and health problems. This is better than requiring only bonding.

Most sand mine companies pay little in taxes to the community. Fairmont mining in Menomonie made $170,000 in taxes last year. Of that Red Cedar Township got only 7 percent. A lot of mined land is leased and taxed at Ag Values i.e. ($2-$3 per acre) mines pay taxes on buildings but much of the equipment is mobile or special use and is taxed at a low rate.

Currently, rural roads are considered very poor and townships face hardship in maintaining them. A sand semi-truck is estimated to cause $25,000 in road damage for every 100,000 miles traveled.

Another problem with mines is they continue to expand once started. Look at New Auburn, Bloomer, and Colfax. They are like a cancer and they will consume as much of the Knapp hills and the Glen hills as they see fit.

Therefore I suggest those dealing with sand companies do everything you can to protect your communities by making air-tight contracts.

Douglas Enloe

Downing, WI

P.S. A few people make a lot of money and a lot (taxpayers) will pay a lot.