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Frac sand facility proposed near C-FC school

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CFC Sand

A proposed dry frac sand facility, located about 1,000 feet away from the Cochrane-Fountain City school, could be in operation sometime next year. Officials with Glacier Sands, the company which applied to build the plant, said details of the operation aren't available yet. (Andrew Link/Winona Daily News)

FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. — A proposed frac sand facility that could bring hundreds of trucks per day a quarter-mile from the Cochrane-Fountain City school faces strong opposition from parents and area residents.

Plans for the plant have inspired yard signs, Facebook campaigns and websites. C-FC Superintendent Tom Hiebert said he hasn’t yet taken a position on the school’s possible new neighbor: “We just don’t know,” he said Tuesday. “We don’t have enough good information to make a decision.”

Brian Iverson, vice president of Glacier Sands LLC, the company proposing the facility, said the facility would benefit the area: “We’re coming in there to spend our dollars,” he said. “There will be a lot of jobs. It’s all an upside. We don’t see a downside.”

An application for the plant — submitted two weeks before Buffalo County’s seven-month mining moratorium took effect last month — outlines a 325-acre drying and rail-loading facility on Kamrowski Road, about 1,000 feet from the school.

The facility could bring as many as 500 trucks per day. Pre-washed sand would be dried and loaded into railcars, which would connect to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe line south of state Hwy. 35.

Hiebert said Tuesday the district is still researching the proposal’s possible effects, but said three areas are particularly important: traffic, health and tax base.

“If the amount of traffic proposed is truly the case, that’s just more than we can handle by the school,” he said. “It’s a concern that we have traffic coming and going all day long here.”

But the facility could also have significant advantages, he said, primarily by increasing the district’s tax base.

The proposal is scheduled to be discussed further at a Buffalo County Board of Adjustment public hearing on May 9.

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