PREVIEW: Jim Laskin on Frac Sand Mining
Full interview to be released soon.
Local small business owner, Jim Laskin, is an unofficial local expert on frac sand mining in Glenwood City. Laskin owns one of the only restaurants in this small west-central Wisconsin community. Located in a town with a population of 1,251 people, The Café emotes more of an uptown vibe than you’d expect, decorated with South American blankets and serving organic, free-trade coffee.
Laskin began the interview by giving us the background on the issue of sand frac mining in Glenwood City and detailing the overwhelming opposition to it by the citizens in his town. Not only does Laskin live within sight of the Mathy Company’s Downing mine, but Mathy’s Wilson mine is under construction to the south of his property and a proposal for a third frac sand mine is under consideration to the north of him – effectively box him in on three sides of his rural home.
As troubling as that may sound, most concerning to Laskin seems to be Vista’s proposal of the 400 – 500 acre “Vista Mine” expected to operate within 1,500 feet from Glenwood City’s public school. This mine, owned by a Texas-based company, would also be about one mile from the city’s nursing home and fall within 5 feet of the city’s ground water table.
Other than the few people selling their land to the mining companies, Laskin tells us that there is overwhelming opposition to frac sand mining in Glenwood City – on both sides of the political aisle.
Some of the numerous signs around Glenwood City, WI.
Laskin is pointing to the hills that are expected to be entirely removed by the “Vista Mine”. The high school football and track fields, the blue buildings near Laskin’s hand, are nearest to the mining property.
A sobering view of a nearby mine – rolling green hills completely removed.
The passage of 2011 WI Act 144 limits the authority of local government to enact a moratorium in order to slow the process down to make sure that it works for the people and land in each community. This has some worried that industry may be moving faster than both legislation and public awareness. With 80 mines in operation and 40 more proposed, “Wisconsin’s Gold Rush” is on for the coveted coarse grain, white sand used for oil and gas exploration and extraction. Frac sand mining may be the most imperative and least discussed public policy issue in years, yet the average citizen knows shockingly little about it.
Check back soon to hear from a person behind this policy (or subscribe to our site and we’ll notify you via email). Laskin tells us his full story about how it looks and feels to be living inside a Wisconsin community opposed to frac sand mining encroachment.
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