Letter: She can't see any upside to introduction of sand mining to area
TO THE EDITOR: I am responding to a letter from the plant manager of Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company.
I'm interested in the source of his statement the DNR and EPA have said there's no threat to public health from sand mining. If the EPA did a current study of crystalline silica emissions, I'm sure the percentage from sand mines would be significantly higher, as there are so many new mines.
Two state agencies in Minnesota have asked for an in-depth study of environmental and health risks associated with proposed mines and processing sites. Therefore, I think studies should be discussed in current and future tense, not past.
The letter states the authorization to operate in Oak Grove would "generate dozens of local jobs generating millions of dollars to be spent in the local community." When we spoke to WISC people attending the vote in Ellsworth for mine expansion, they admitted the "dozens" would likely be about 20. Certainly, we'd all like to see millions of dollars spent in the local community.
Realistically, Prescott doesn't have the number of businesses to generate that much spending. Other than the 20 or so people employed by the mine, it's unlikely it would bring more customers for Cernohous, Ptacek's, Most Pharmacy, the gas stations and the restaurants.
More likely, the restaurants will lose business, as Hwy. 35 will be much less inviting for the tourists, especially motorcyclists, who fill those establishments during nice weather. I assume the millions will be spent on suppliers from areas outside of our community, maybe even outside of Wisconsin.
As I said in my original letter, being a homeowner in Oak Grove, I cannot see any upside to the introduction of sand mining to this area. Many of us wish sand mines would go be a "good neighbor" somewhere else.