Wisconsin News

Could La Crosse become a major transfer site for frac sand?

LA CROSSE, Wis. -  Could frac sand be coming through a neighborhood near you? That's a reality a north side La Crosse neighborhood could be facing.

It was a full house Tuesday night as county leaders and the public learned about the possibility from DNR and health officials.

The railroad is currently looking at a number of sites throughout the area to serve as transfer points, places where dump trucks could bring sand to be shipped to places out of our area for hydraulic fracturing. That includes a spot near the Harry J. Olsen Senior Center on La Crosse's north side.

A typical medium-sized mine can move about a million tons of sand a year and residents who would see that come past their house every day are worried. "I'm very concerned about the health issues related to the expansion of frac sand mining. I have the road concerns and the disruptions to the neighborhoods and the property devaluation that would occur," said County Board Supervisor Ralph Geary.

DNR officials say there's no conclusive evidence of health hazards to people not mining the sand.

They also say they've put a number of safeguards in place to keep everyone safe. "The existing regulations we have are good, they're protective of human health and requirement, so long as they comply with them. I don't think we need more stringent standards or anything on that matter," said Senior DNR Manger Tom Woletz.

Woletz also said there's essentially an endless supply of sand in La Crosse County.

Tuesday night's meeting was expected to be one of several as county leaders gather more information on the potential impact if La Crosse was chosen as a transfer site.

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