BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WXOW) – Wisconsin Proppants, a sand mining company, wants to develop a sand mine in the Town of Curran. Before Jackson County grants a permit, the company must come up with an acceptable reclamation plan to return the land to its natural state once the mine closes.
“It gives the community and the people and the neighborhood an idea of what it is going to be restored and how it's going to be returned,” Jackson County Conservationist Gaylord Olson said.
There are some questions which need to be addressed with the plan. “Some people are concerned what it's going to look like, the water usage, erosion from the site if that's going to be controlled or contained,” Olson said.
Reclamation could also happen within a year after mining is completed. “Particularly, they're looking at large open areas that may be pasture land, could be returned to crop land and if they want, they could even make some of it forested again,” Olson said.
Jackson County held a public hearing on Thursday regarding reclamation, and residents had an opportunity to voice their concerns. “It affects me, and I think it affect everyone in the county,” Black River Falls resident Sheila Danielson said. “They're taking away the community part of an area. Their priority is more to make money more than it is to protect people.”
The project would be privately funded by Wisconsin Proppants, but Danielson insists on using the money in different ways. “I'm sure the gas and oil companies could use their money to do more research on different types of energy rather than trying to make more money,” Danielson said.
If something were to happen to Wisconsin Proppants, there is a financial assurance attached to the plan, which would make sure Jackson County has available funding. With the financial assurance, if something were to happen to Wisconsin Proppants, the county could draw money from the company through a financial institution or creditor, meaning Jackson County wouldn't be responsible for paying for the project if they had to restore the site themselves.
Olson said the County's Land and Conservation Department will review the reclamation plan before submitting it to Wisconsin Proppants, which could be within the next couple of weeks.
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