We Must Kill the Wisconsin Bill that Weakens Local Control of Frac Sand Mining

The Land Stewardship Project Citizens’ Frac Sand Summit in Winona was a huge success. Despite a winter weather advisory on Saturday, Jan. 18, over 225 people came together to build our power to stop the frac sand industry from destroying rural communities.

At the summit we stressed the importance of keeping local control strong in Wisconsin. That means killing the Wisconsin bill to weaken local control (SB 349). Wisconsin Farmers Union is fighting at the state capitol in Madison to do just that, and they provided us with a fact sheet and action alert on what we need to do to kill this bill (details are below).

Summit highlights included:

  • Marilyn Frauenkron Bayer, LSP member from Houston County, reviewing the dozens of grassroots victories in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota where people are standing up to the frac sand industry. Her conclusion? “We are powerful and we are committed to building more power to protect our communities from the devastation of frac sand mining.” Read her list of grassroots victories here.

Much of the information from the Summit is up on our website here and more will be up soon. For more information on the Summit, contact LSP's Bobby King at 612-722-6377 or bking@landstewardshipproject.org.

Take Action to Keep Local Control of Frac Sand Mining Operations in Wisconsin

Contact your state Senator and Representative and tell them you oppose Senate Bill 349 and they should too. You can get your state legislators' contact information here.

Here are some messages about the bill to share with your legislators:

  • In Wisconsin we value strong local democracy and local control. This bill goes against that. It puts corporate special interests over community rights.
  • Different areas of the state require individualized regulations for mining. A one-sized-fits-all approach does not make sense.
  • The state Department of Natural Resources does not have available the staffing resources needed to take on all of this new oversight. Local governments are in a better position to manage local impacts.
  • The bill would limit the ability of local municipalities to recover the cost of road repairs from the trucks hauling sand. At the same time, roads are deteriorating faster than they can be repaired. This means more damaged roads in our state and a greater cost to the taxpayer

Get the full Wisconsin Farmers Union action alert on our website here.

More Background

In October, Senator Tom Tiffany (R–Hazelhurst) introduced Senate Bill 349, which would preempt local regulation of non-metallic mining operations, including frac sand mines. SB 349 would severely limit the authority of local governments to pass ordinances to protect roads, manage mine hours of operation, dust, light and noise, and mitigate impacts on homes and businesses.

The bill met with immediate and fierce opposition and the sponsors were forced to delay action, BUT they promised to amend the bill and bring it back for consideration. We expect that this will happen over the next few months. It appears now that the bill’s sponsors have agreed to remove provisions that were of most concern to county governments, and that it will focus more specifically on restricting the power of towns. We must push back with a unified voice: “No version of this bill is OK. Local control must not be weakened!”