Frac sand facility plans put on hold - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Frac sand facility plans put on hold

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Dunn County (WQOW) - There's a surprise development Wednesday involving a proposed frac sand facility in Dunn County.

The county board was expected to vote Wednesday night on a re-zoning request from Vista Sand.  The company wants to build a sand-transfer facility on 168 acres between Menomonie and Knapp, but on Wednesday, Vista withdrew its rezoning request.

In a letter to the county, the company said it wants more time to assess its options, and to evaluate the county's new mining ordinance that's being drafted.  The company also wants time to re-evaluate its own proposal in the wake of numerous concerns voiced by residents and Dunn County's Planning, Resources and Development Committee.

That committee voted last week to recommend the county board deny re-zoning.  The reasons included health and safety concerns, and incompatibility with the comprehensive land-use plan, which calls for the area to remain agricultural.  Vista says it intends to re-submit its zoning application at a later date.

In the company's letter to the county, Vista Sand said "access to sand is critical to achieving the national objective of energy independence."  It also said it offered financial assistance to homeowners located near the site.  Earlier this summer, WQOW News 18 reported on one kind of offer called a "cooperation agreement."  WQOW News 18 obtained a copy of one agreement drawn up for a property owner who called it hush money.

Vista Sand was offering her $38,000 if she agreed to support the company's project publicly. Payments were contingent upon the project being approved.

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