The Chisago County Press reports in Crowd tells NB Council to deny sand project;Petition with 1,400 signers submitted:
The North Branch City Council heard an anti-frac sand message loud and clear at Monday night’s meeting when about 30 people attended the regular meeting to make statements opposing a proposal from Superior Sands to buy city land for a sand transfer station in North Branch. . . .
Kirsten Kennedy submitted a petition she said contained 1,400 names opposed to the sand facility and use of the Highway 95 haul route from Wisconsin through Taylors Falls, to the proposed sand transloading facility on the rail line in North Branch. She said the petition is going to MnDOT and Governor Dayton and asked North Branch officials to reconsider a decision that could “devastate” the entire area. She asked council to work with Chisago County on what is a very tentative plan at this point, that would have the county providing funding for North Branch to meet financial obligations related to debt it took on in developing the city industrial park. The concept also involves assisting North Branch in finding an alternative location for a Superior Sands facility, ideally better equipped to handle massive amounts of truck transport and fewer people living nearby who could potentially be affected by environmental fallout.
Tessa Hill promised council that this level of opposition will only grow, adding that organizers “will see to it.” Julie Solle asked council to visit sand mining facilities in Wisconsin and view the impact hundreds of trucks, noise, dust and related frac sand processing activities have had-- which she said are ruining small towns like Chetek, etc. Gil Randolph warned the council that if the Superior Silica Sands facility comes into North Branch’s industrial/business park “nobody will want to be a part of that,” locating a business next to a sand facility. “What will you do with the balance of ESSBY?” he asked. (ESSBY is what the North Branch industrial park is known by.) Tom Chaklos added that if the council should agree to allow the Superior plant in North Branch, then officials must prepare for fewer businesses in town and fewer people coming there for the small town quality of life.
North Branch is setting up a town hall about the issue, the paper reports. Located in Chisago County on I-35 noth of the Twin Cities, North Branch is home to just over 10,000 people.
Photo: Anti-frac sand mining banner, via Chisago County Press.
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