Northeast Iowa frac sand mining company faces opposition over Wisconsin expansion


MPCA Photos
MPCA Photos
KC McGinnis | May 10, 2016

A Clayton County frac sand mining company is facing opposition over plans to expand its underground mining operation into Wisconsin.

Pattison Sand Co. plans to expand its 100 acre underground mine by requesting 746 acres of agricultural land across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin be rezoned to heavy industrial. A report from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism shows that the company has received the most industrial sand mine workplace violations in the country, nearly double its nearest competitor, causing its expansion to stir controversy in southwest Wisconsin.

Cited in the report is University of Iowa Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health Patrick O’Shaughnessy, who seemed to advise against the mine expansion before a county committee in Elkader in April. Infractions against Pattison Sand Co., which mines sand for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, include multiple injuries sustained by employees, a fire, multiple roof collapses, and one death.

Concerned citizens at the Elkader meeting were concerned about the effects of frac sand mining on public health, including air quality from airborne silica sand.

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