This is a very big deal: Reversing fields, Wisconsin's towns are continuing to oppose the latest version of a mining-industry friendly bill that would remove local controls from sand mine siting and operations.
The new draft had somewhat softened the deregulation, but the towns still see the threats to local budgets, and health and safety considerations.
Recent background on the bill and the players, here:
The Legislature's leading mining industry insider is rushing another version of his bad sand mining bill to approval as legislators head for adjournment.
The original bill would have drastically limited local governmental ability to regulate the health, safety, environmental and fiscal implications of sand mine excavating, trucking and other operations.
State Sen. Tom Tiffany, (R- Hazelhurst), says his new bill will leave in place the current regulatory framework used by local governments to regulate existing sand mines - - now numbering more than 100 - - but bar the creation of altered rules that local governments might want to implement to keep new mines running safely...
* Tiffany is the last person in the Legislature to be taken as a good source of information on mining impacts and environmental law.
Also, as the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters has said:
Frac sand mining is already causing our hills to disappear and our communities to suffer in western Wisconsin. If anything, citizens need more tools to address the dramatically changing landscapes of their communities.
SB 632 & AB 816 would allow mining companies to lock-in a free-pass on avoiding any future mining-related ordinances that are adopted before the hypothetical mine even begins pursuing a permit.
In addition, SB 632 & AB 816 could invalidate existing ordinances in communities where current regulations address in a single ordinance all aspects of frac sand operations, from the actual mine site and processing facilities to loading operations.