April ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬23, 2009
30 W. Central
Chippewa Falls WI 54729
Dear Mr. _________:
As you know, on April 6, Judge Roderick Cameron provided his written ruling on the Conditional Use Permit for Canadian Sand & Proppants, Inc.. This ruling vacated the approval of this permit because the Plan Commission did not make the required findings of fact. The request for the CUP was remanded back to the Plan Commission for their reconsideration.
The purpose of this letter is to ask you to complete a thorough and independent finding of fact as required by Judge Cameron. City Attorney Ferg has, no doubt, shared with you Attorney Glenn Stoddard’s letter urging you to hold a public hearing on this matter. We, too, ask that you hold a public hearing and directly hear the concerns and significant information citizens of this city and county can provide. We also ask you to complete a through and complete investigation of facts to help you conclude that you cannot grant a Conditional Use Permit for Canadian Sand and Proppants, Inc. and still meet the criteria set forth in the City Code 17.26 (7) (g).
First, we are all aware of present economic concerns, but we also realize Chippewa Falls is no worse off than most cities across the United States in this current recession. We believe the costs of infrastructure, the cost of road maintenance and repair (trucks entering or leaving this site as many as 560 times a day), and the potential of losing other greener industry far outweigh the delayed and questionable benefits of having this sand plant here.
Secondly, we believe the health costs are too great in light of this plant being proposed next to housing developments, an existing and another proposed school, our hospital, Wissota Vent, a daycare, and light industry that will surely bear the effects of air borne particles. The air quality hearing has not even been held yet. When it is held, all should be in attendance at this hearing to learn the true consequences of crystalline silica, diesel particulates, and dust in our air in and near the city. The city can be prepared for lawsuits pertaining to illness caused by this heavy industry if this project becomes reality. In addition the number of trucks entering and leaving this site raises safety concerns.
Third, the environmental effects of this plant are staggering. Between the Town of Howard and the plant site, multiple wetlands will be mitigated with others being infringed on. Our wetlands protect our water table by being natural filters. Wildlife including deer, pileated woodpeckers, many kinds of small birds, owls, and hawks now inhabit this land. This wildlife will be displaced by a plant that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with continuous noise and flashing lights. Lake Wissota is just over a mile away; we know dust chokes out oxygen. This lake is a treasure of the area, and we need to do everything we can to protect it. With prevailing west winds, emissions will easily travel to this lake and beyond. Our city may have no legal obligation to consider the effect of their decisions on nearby areas, but any harm to the health, safety, and economy of County neighbors as a result of mining operations will cost the City as well. We must care for our environment, not only for our own health and welfare, but so that future generations will want to live and work in our beautiful city and county.
Last, the future of “frac” mining as it is carried out now is questionable. It is likely that a bill will be passed in the near future that will repeal the exemption of “frac” mining from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Resin coated proppants will probably be banned. There are non-frac sand proppants already in use and more being developed. Fracturing oil and gas wells with resins and other chemicals is being opposed wherever the process is used. It is believed that chemicals showing up in aquifers and drinking wells across the country can only be explained by the ongoing fracturing of nearby oil and gas wells. Neighboring communities and legislators are trying to ban the process. What happens where there is no consumer for this product?
We further ask that this land be rezoned to light industrial or agricultural since the heavy industrial zoning is not compatible with adjacent land uses (R-1S, R-2, and agricultural). The health risks are too great, and home values will depreciate.
We know you have a difficult task ahead of you. Once again, we believe that a public hearing will help you understand the concerns of citizens, and a thorough and complete investigation of the facts will help you conclude that you cannot grant a Conditional Use Permit for Canadian Sand & Proppants, Inc. and still meet the criteria set forth in our City Code.
Concerned Chippewa Citizens
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