Letter: Minimize sand mine risk by conducting EA, she saysTO THE EDITOR: Recently, I attended public meetings about a potential Wisconsin Industrial Sand mine expansion to hundreds of acres in the Maiden Rock area.
By: Dr. Cynthia Lane, Maiden Rock, Pierce County Herald
TO THE EDITOR: Recently, I attended public meetings about a potential Wisconsin Industrial Sand mine expansion to hundreds of acres in the Maiden Rock area.
Asking myself what the role of government is in a key decision such as this one, I was reminded that government’s role is to provide an array of services such as police, fire, emergency medical services, tax collection and public works. That is, protect and minimize risks to all citizens.
Given this, how can government minimize risks associated with the proposed sand mine expansion? One way is to require the sand mine to conduct an environmental assessment (EA). An EA would provide the information needed to evaluate: 1) risks to air or water, 2) economic benefits and detriments, and 3) impacts of blasting.
The risk of conducting an EA is negligible. It would simply mean that Wisconsin Industrial Sand, a multimillion dollar corporation, would have to commit some funds to the effort.
And what are the risks if mine expansion is approved based on inadequate information? Review of information by trained professionals (not hired by the mine), suggests that there may be cause for concern. Therefore, the risk of not conducting an EA is that the community could incur long-term, costly health and economic impacts.
Unfortunately, when the mine first started in Maiden Rock, the local government failed to protect citizens by insuring that the mine provide economic benefits proportionate with the mine’s income and environmental impacts on the village. Now, I ask our current government representatives to insist on an EA. Twenty years from now, no one will curse any government officials involved for forcing the mine to do an EA to guide this process.
Can we say the same if the mine expands its operations without sufficient information, and serious impacts manifest?