Winneshiek County needs moratorium on
frac-sand mining to allow time to gather information
Monday, May 13, 2013 9:51 AM
Dear Planning and Zoning commissioners,
Let's ensure our quality of life.
After extensive reading about the frac-sand issue, I still have so many concerns and questions. Our neighbors to the north in Houston County published a report at www.co.houston.mn.us/Frac_Sand.aspx delineating specifically road study on the effects of heavy loads presented by Dr. W. James Wilde, P.E., professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato.
With numerous examples of data, the page I quote cites just one of the cost factors yet to be determined.
11,740 trucks per year at 23 tons/truck
A typical roadway in Houston County may be designed for 50,000 trucks over its entire lifetime
The additional trucks can "consume" the designed life of the pavement in less than five years
In another report by Chippewa County to study current traffic needs versus sand hauling traffic, a road upgrade study determined that one 7.45-mile section of pavement estimated a cost of $2,888,089 for the required structural asphalt overlay.
Road and bridge maintenance in Winneshiek County is underfunded to the degree that the road use fund is insolvent and the county has already used up all of the road repair funds at its disposal for the current year. There is no money available for any such paving upgrades. We are not permitted, as a county, to levy a road use tax. This means there is no way to collect money to repair our roads from an industrial silica sand mining operation that would tear them up. Will we, as taxpayers, be asked to bear the burden of such massive costs?
Patricia Popple, a concerned citizen from Chippewa Falls, Wis., said noise, traffic, sand and waste spills into waterways, crumbling roads and illness blamed on fugitive dust have become hot issues in her state.
We need assurances in all of these areas. I believe a 24-month moratorium should be imposed until such issues can be studied to the extent that we have accurate data to make a truly informed decision about frac-sand mining in this county.
The public is urged to attend the Planning and Zoning Commission hearing at the Decorah Courthouse, third floor, Main and Winnebago Streets, on Tuesday, May 14, at 7 p.m.