The Buffalo County Zoning Board of Adjustment has tabled a permit for new frac sand mines.
The three-member board voted 2-1 this week to delay action on a permit for a Gilmanton mine for up to 60 days while awaiting results of a state Hwy. 88 study. Tom Beekman of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation said a consultant is assessing the potential safety risks associated with significant volume of sand mine trucks traveling the highway.
The study also would address what it would take to “provide low-cost safety treatments to reduce risk” and offer a summary of major findings and recommendations, Beekman said.
The applicants, R&J Rolling Acres and mining developer Glacier Sands of Chippewa Falls, Wis., want to build a sand washing plant and mine on 70 acres of agricultural land.
Plans call for hauling 126 truckloads of covered silica sand on weekdays, though the board said it would limit loads to 105 per day.
More than 35 operating conditions were attached to the permit before the board chose to table it.
About 150 people attended the meeting and public hearing, with an estimated 25 speaking for or against the permit.
Numerous emails and letters were entered into the record.
Representatives of Glacier Sands said the proposed mining project would have a lifespan of up to 15 years. The plan calls for running trucks on Hwy. 88 to state Hwy. 35.
The second mining permit, sought by Greg Weber for land off Hwy. 121 east of Gilmanton, was tabled and rescheduled for a June hearing.
The Weber project, outlined by 10K International LLC, a Wisconsin-based company, proposes hauling up to 175 truckloads of sand daily Monday through Saturday.
The route would follow Hwy. BB to Hwy. 121 to Hwy. 93 to Hwy. 35/54. The mine would be active up to five years.
Buffalo County approved a seven-month frac sand moratorium in March, though the county is now dealing with a number of permits that were submitted just before the moratorium took effect.