Public meeting about proposed frac sand mine in Eau Claire Count - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Public meeting about proposed frac sand mine in Eau Claire County

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - Fairchild opened the door to questions about frac sand on Monday night.

Dozens of people showed up at the elementary school which hosted a meeting about U.S. Silica's plans.  The company is considering a 650-acre mine and processing facility along county road RR in the Town of Fairchild.  It says it would most likely hire more than 60 people if the project is approved.

"We have a facility in Sparta that we opened up about a year ago.  It was interesting, I was there about four months ago and talking with folks, and it's enabled some folks to actually re-invent themselves, new careers.  I mean somebody that was in radio who is now in sand mining, somebody that was running a retirement home that is now in sand mining...  This whole shale revolution, if you will, is almost akin to the gold rush of 1849," said U.S. Silica Spokesperson Michael Lawson.

"I have mixed feelings, I really do.   I think it's going to be good for the community.  I think it will benefit in jobs, economic growth.  (The) biggest thing I can see is what is going to be the impact on the environment?  There are questions that I have," said David Rosman from Fairchild.

U.S. Silica has not bought any property and has not applied for permits yet.  The company says if the project is approved, it would like to begin building in the spring.  Right now, there are three permitted mines in Eau Claire County:  Hi Crush, High Country and Five Star.  Hi Crush is the only one that's operational.

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - Eau Claire County could be home to another frac sand mine and if it's approved, it could become the county's largest.

U.S. Silica is considering a mine and processing facility in the Town of Fairchild.  It would be along County Road RR between South Center Road and Highway 12.  The company has not bought any property and has not applied for permits yet, but a U.S. Silica representative says the mine site they're considering would cover 650 acres.  That would be larger than the company's only other Wisconsin mine, which is in Sparta.  The Sparta mine covers 520 acres, has a capacity for 1.7 million tons a year and employs 60 people full time.  U.S. Silica says it would expect to hire more than 60 for its operation in Fairchild.  It also says it plans to use rail at the site so trucking would not be an issue.

A public meeting will be held on Monday night, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Fairchild Elementary School.  Right now, there are three permitted mines in Eau Claire County:  Hi Crush, High Country Sand and Five Star Properties.

 

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