Sand mining moratorium ends in Eau Claire County - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Sand mining moratorium ends in Eau Claire County

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - The sand mining moratorium in a local county has come to an end. Eau Claire County spent the last six months studying sand mining, and coming up with new regulations.

"We've learned a lot. Pretty much everything from A to Z and in between," says Rod Eslinger, the Land Use Control Supervisor.

Eau Claire County's six month mining moratorium is over.

"It's one of those things where if you're in a situation where everybody wants to go go go, it's always good to take a step back and to really study those issues and the impacts on it, because this land use is like none other that we've really truly experienced in our region of the state," Eslinger says.

The county spent time pouring over information, creating new regulations that are now in place.

"Groundwater, protecting groundwater was a key provision, and air quality. There was concern about the fugitive dust that would be managed, impacts on roads and traffic safety," says Gregg Moore, the Eau Claire County Board Chair. "If we do get applications, then we're in a position, I think, from a regulatory point of view to be sure that public health is protected."

Applications for two companies, Hi-Crush and High Country Sands, were allowed to be processed during the moratorium.

"I think the next step at this point is essentially wait and see and deal with what might come our way," Moore.

And the county is expecting interest to pick up.

"We do expect to have companies come in to apply for applications," says Eslinger.

"There could be the potential because we do have the sand reserves here that the oil and gas industry values and so there is definitely interest," says Moore.

However, the county says the studying may not necessarily be over.

"That's not to say that if something new comes up in the future we can't go back in and address whatever that issue is and make those necessary adjustments to the code," Eslinger says.

There were no new permits filed Friday. The county's planning and zoning committee approved the reclamation permit for Hi-Crush Sand in the town of bridge creek last week.

Meanwhile, High Country Sands will be holding a public forum on June 12th regarding their conditional use permit for their sand operation. It will be held at the Augusta High School at seven o'clock in the commons area. 

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