Moratorium on frac sand mining is'wise and conservative step' to take
Monday, May 06, 2013 4:11 AM
I am writing to you, my fellow Winneshiek County citizens, to urge you all to ask your county government for a 24-month moratorium on new frac sand mining permits. At this point, a moratorium would be the wise and conservative step to take. All of the counties surrounding us have enacted moratoriums because there are simply too many unanswered questions about frac sand mining at this point.
Here are just a few of the many unanswered questions that I see.
Most of the St. Peter sandstone at the surface in Winneshiek County is in the northwest corner where most of our prized trout fishing streams are located. If we allow frac sand mining companies to remove 50 feet of soil and bedrock, what will that do to these trout streams that attract visitors and their dollars to Winneshiek County from all over the Midwest? Removing that amount of plant matter, soil, and bedrock will surely have negative effects on the county's streams and the Upper Iowa River.
Would mining companies be allowed to mine right next to sensitive geologic features like springs and sinkholes?
Will the frac sand be processed in Winneshiek County?
If it will be processed here will the mining companies need to use tens of thousands of gallons of groundwater per day like they are doing in Wisconsin? If so, what will that do to our water table and how will that affect residential water wells? Will the mining companies be "recycling" the water back into the ground? If they do "recycle" the water back into the ground, will that introduce the chemicals that are used to process frac sand into our groundwater?
Today, our county's road use fund is barely covering the maintenance and building of county roads and bridges. How would we possibly have the money to pay for the repair of roads and bridges that suddenly see one hundred new heavy truck trips per day?
Like I said, I have been studying this issue closely and these are just some of the many pressing questions that we need to get answers to before we can allow an intensive new mining industry in our county.
If you agree that there are too many unanswered questions at this point please contact the members of the Planning and Zoning Commission and tell them that you too support a 24-month moratorium on new frac sand mining permits.