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Frac-Sand Bill Also Has Implications for Metallic Mining Activities

A state Senate bill regulating frac sand mining could overturn local rules relating to the proposed Penokee mine. 

The bill authored by Senator Tom Tiffany has drawn attention for how it would limit local control over nonmetallic mining. 

But the bill also contains provisions that regulate blasting for ANY type of mine or quarry. 

Ashland County officials are considering rules that could limit Gogebic Taconite’s ability to do bulk sampling in an area that contains asbestos-like minerals. 

During today’s hearing, Ashland Senator Bob Jauch asked if the bill in question could overturn that zoning ordinance.  The answer from Legislative Counsel Larry Konopacki…was yes. 

“As I mentioned there are provisions in the bill that are more broadly applicable. One is the local preemption on blasting requirements – so to the extent that there’s blasting reuqirments – other than relating to the schedule for blasting – those would be preempted under this bill.”

Konopacki said local air and water quality rules for blasting could also be overturned. 

Tiffany says there are too many local restrictions on frac sand mining activities.  He says this bill will establish statewide standards. 

About 40 people are signed up to testify in today’s hearing.     

Audio for this story was gathered courtesy of Wisconsin Eye.  

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