What’s the rush?
To the Editor:
In his Jan. 15 commentary in the La Crosse Tribune, Kent Syverson called moratoriums on silica sand mining “thinly veiled attempts to block sand mining permanently.”
On the contrary, they allow elected officials to do the job we elected them to do: protect the public interest. Bravo to courageous officials who study the issues before acting!
How do we ensure that mining companies “contribute to road upkeep?” A moratorium allows officials to ensure they have appropriate funding available to maintain roads.
Syverson identified two very serious water issues: water depletion and water contamination. A moratorium gives officials time to ensure there are funds to monitor water usage and quality and to remedy problems as they arise.
If silicosis is an occupational disease only affecting workers at the workplace, as Syverson stated, why does the American Lung Association provide these cautions for workers? “Always remember that when you wear dusty clothing in your car, at home, or anywhere outside of your worksite, you may be exposing your family to potentially deadly silica.” And, “Even if you cannot see dust, you can still be at risk from silica. If there is visible dust, you are almost definitely at risk.”
It is a common practice of mining companies to set up operations and bring in their own people to fill all of the jobs Syverson promised. Don’t count on a boost in local employment.
There may be short term rewards for landowners who allow their land to be mined. When the sand is gone, can the land be returned to agricultural use? How can we guarantee payment for reclamation?
Syverson neglected to mention that nearby property values may go down by up to 30 percent.
Let our officials take the time now to study the issues so local taxpayers and property owners don’t have to foot the bill later. What’s the rush? Could it be that Syverson’s paying clients want to get in quick and get the sand out cheap before local governments have a chance to understand the actual costs?
As one very wise Houston County Commissioner stated, “The sand will still be there.”