Iowa’s Allamakee County looks to implement nation’s strictest frac sand mining ordinance


Nick Fetty | June 5, 2014
Photo via Erick Gustafson; Flickr
Photo via Erick Gustafson; Flickr

On Tuesday, the Allamakee County (Iowa) Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 to approve what looks to be “the most strict frac sand mining ordinance in the nation,” according to Robert Nehman, President of the Allamakee County Protectors.

The Board not only intends to protect environmental and agricultural interests with this ordinance but also aims to reduce the impact on county infrastructure – such as roads and bridges – that often see increases in heavy traffic due to frac sand mining operations. The ordinance is in response to the plethora of frac sand mining operations that have popped up all over Wisconsin since 2009.

In January, the Iowa Policy Project compiled a report about frac sand mining in northeast Iowa and the Cedar Rapids Gazette editorial board published an article about the implications of frac sand mining in northeast Iowa in February.

For more information, check out the draft of the ordinance.

EDIT: Post originally stated it was the nation’s strictest “fracking” ordinance.  The ordinance instead applies to “sand frac mining.”

8 thoughts on “Iowa’s Allamakee County looks to implement nation’s strictest frac sand mining ordinance

  1. Just an FYI – the issue is frac sand mining, not fracking. This has to do with the mining of the sand, not drilling for oil.

  2. Reading this article leads me to wonder who is looking out for the landowners who own this extremely valuable sand. It protects the farmers and the environment….but what about the landowners/taxpayers who have the chance to market this product? What is this doing to their rights? Isn’t this America, land of opportunity? Or does “oppurtunity” only apply to certain producers?
    It is only right to hold those ruining roads and bridges accountable for damages. However if they are abiding by the weight restrictions set forth by the local and state government should they have to pay extra? Are the roadways not public? Might lower weight restrictions be in order?
    I am neither in support of or against sand mines. I am however for protecting everyone equally and not singling out one industry and letting the rest run rampant.

  3. roads and bridges are only part of the concern allamakee county has decided to control this industry and they have a right to do so. Local control is the heart and soul of conservatism .The farming community owns all the land allamakee county, and they have decided industrial mining does not fit into an farming and tourist economy .

    • I don’t think that the farming community does own all of the land in Allamakee county….if this were true then the sand mining would not be an issue, as the sand mining companies would have nowhere to dig. Might some of the effort that is being directed at the sand industry be directed at the farming industry? After all isn’t it the farming industry in Iowa that is dumping millions of gallons of hazardous chemicals onto the land and crops that ultimately become food and ends up in our ground water. Taking on the chemical issues seems to be of more importance….or am I missing something?

      • of course farming is the biggest enviromental issue in iowa. nobody is saying it isnt. industrial scale , hilltop removal of sand, in thousands of acres like the industry prefers to do, makes even industrial farming look good as a land use. Personally i have been active in organic farming , sustainable forestry and promoting conservation farming my whole life. Famers do own all the land here, mining companies dont own any.

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