A concerned citizen plans to ask the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors to take some action to prevent frac-sand mining within the county.
Rob Carbonell of Decorah said when he heard Allamakee County had implemented an 18-month moratorium on the practice, it stirred him to action in his own county.
"As a citizen, I'm interested to see if our new county supervisors are going to show us whether or not we did the right thing by flipping most of the Board and ousting the incumbents," said Carbonell.
Carbonell is scheduled to address the Board of Supervisors Monday, March 4, at 10 a.m. His 30-minute time slot will be followed by conversation with representatives from the Winneshiek County Protectors, a group which was recently formed to research and watch for the likelihood of frac-sand mining coming to Winneshiek County.
A good reminder
Carbonell said he plans to remind the Supervisors "they have the power to implement a moratorium in order to force the (sand mining) companies to do research and to provide a report of their plans to restore environmentally sensitive areas that may be disturbed and also show what the impact will and won't be."
"I also plan to remind the supervisors they have the power to do this (enact a moratorium) and stop it temporarily until further research can be done. I'd also like them to get something in writing from the mining companies that they are going to provide some kind of financial reimbursement for roads that are not rated for that kind of load, rather than leaving that burden on the taxpayers of Winneshiek County when these outside private interests have taken what they wanted and left. As it stands, we don't have enough money to repair the roads (under current conditions)."
As an avid outdoorsman, Carbonelle said he also wants to make sure all the work that has been accomplished by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is respected.
Carbonell said his biggest concern is that Winneshiek County doesn't end up in the same situation "our brothers in Minnesota and Wisconsin are in."
"Where we live, the environment is a product that many businesses rely on as a tourism draw. The environment has been invested in by entities such as the DNR, Trout Unlimited and Pheasants Forever. Many private landowners have turned their river frontage over to public land," he said.
At what expense?
Carbonell said while he does not want to limit anyone's ability to make money off their land, "I also don't want the rest of us to have to pay for it, too," he said.
Carbonell said he invites others to attend the meeting Monday in support of a moratorium.
Winneshiek Co. status
According to Winneshiek County Auditor Ben Steines, at last Monday's meeting of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Dennis Karlsbroten gave a copy of Allamakee County's 18-month moratorium to County Attorney Andy Van Der Maaten and asked him to review it and submit an opinion about whether or not a similar document would be appropriate for Winneshiek County.
Van Der Maaten told the Board because Winneshiek County has different zoning ordinances, any moratorium would need to be compatible with those laws. He did not think he would have a full opinion on the matter ready for next Monday's meeting.