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Letter: Sand mining has potential to cause damage to priceless asset, he says

TO THE EDITOR: In the Aug. 22 issue of the Herald, the Regional Manager of Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company refuted earlier allegations regarding frac sand mining in our area.

He emphasized the economic benefits of mining to our community and minimized potential harm that this activity could cause.

What the Regional Manager did not mention is that their operation is just a part of an industry that is undergoing explosive growth in the northwestern region of Wisconsin. A recent survey found that 12 regional counties had 52 operating or approved sand mines, up 136 percent from just a year earlier. It is no secret that much of this activity is taking place in the most beautiful and scenic part of our state.

The Wisconsin section of the Great River Road has been described as the "prettiest drive" in the United States. Hundreds of businesses along the road depend on tourism and the millions of dollars it generates. The Mississippi River corridor has become a destination for travelers from every part of the globe.

For many of the proposed or existing mines, there is no alternative to moving sand to processing or shipping points except by truck, and a lot of it is or will be occurring on the Great River Road. The negative impact of this truck traffic is already being felt. On a recent trip to Onalaska, I followed and met several sand trucks, including one fully loaded and covered, which pelted my car with sand as I attempted to pass.

Frac sand mining, regardless of what proponents claim, has the potential for causing significant and permanent damage to a priceless asset.