ARCADIA, Wis. — A proposal to open an 800 acre frac sand mine near Arcadia is being met with resistance by neighbors to the proposed site.
The mine would be on the properties of Gary Haines, Cortland Farms LLC and Francis Pronschinske, and active mining would occur on 220-250 acres.
AllEnergy Silica mine must receive approval from the town before advancing to the county for the go-ahead to begin operations.
But the proposal was met with overwhelming criticism from about 60 residents who attended a meeting Monday to hear more about the plan. Most are concerned about potential health and environmental risks.
“I’ve been proud to tell people that I’ve come from and live in the best place possible in the world,” said Matt Schultz, an Arcadia resident. “I’m worried I’m not going to be able to say that to my kids and my grandkids.”
Disrupting the natural landscape was also a fear for many residents who were born and raised in the town.
“My concern is not only for the neighbors, but all of us who recreate around here, who farm, who socialize and bike,” said Rebecca Larsen, another Arcadia resident. “I don’t want our families, our country, our earth being damaged.”
AllEnergy Silica said the mine will use a conveyor system instead of trucks to transport sand from the mine to a processing facility. The conveyor would run below Hwy. J underground to transport the sand to a wash plant and drying facilities.
The company also said the sand will be transported via rail spur by Canadian Rail and that all crushing, washing and drying plants would be enclosed.
“We’re not taking the path of least resistance,” company representative Mark Riley said. “We plan to be good members of the community.”
Many local residents weren’t impressed.
“I’m really concerned about the conveying system,” Sam Schultz said. “We are not for guaranteed the slurry will not leak out of those tubes.”
“The water quality is still a concern,” Matt Schultz said. “There’s no mine company that’s ever left the land better, left the water better or left the air better.”
The Arcadia board could vote on the mine at its next meeting, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5.