Midwest Environmental Advocates is a nonprofit environmental law center that works for healthy water, air, land and government for this generation and the next. We believe that every citizen has the potential to make a difference.

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Public Input on Frac Sand Study Heard in Howard

Feb 26, 2015

Midwest Environmental Advocates applauds the citizens of Chippewa, Dunn and Eau Claire Counties who attended the public meeting to share feedback and ideas for what issues should be included in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ strategic analysis of frac sand mining. Tuesday night's meeting in the Town of Howard was the first opportunity for local residents to share their comments and questions about what the comprehensive study may include.

“While the DNR couldn’t dedicate staff resources to this meeting in the Town of Howard, local citizens and Midwest Environmental Advocates’ staff agreed that it was important to make sure citizens’ input was heard locally and early in the scoping process,” said Executive Director Kimberlee Wright. “We met with the NRB Chair and the Deputy Secretary of the DNR last month to discuss how we would collaborate on public participation in the scoping process and we agreed to work together and be creative about including public input. Midwest Environmental Advocates is committed to supporting public participation in the strategic analysis at all appropriate levels and we will work to make the public aware of their opportunities to give the agency feedback.”

With the recommendation of the DNR, the state Natural Resources Board voted unanimously to move forward on a strategic analysis of the impacts of frac sand mining in Wisconsin. A strategic analysis is a broad-based study by the DNR to gather comprehensive, science-based information to benefit citizens, lawmakers and regulatory agencies. A strategic analysis does not create policy, new laws, or rules for industrial activity. The comprehensive analysis will be a much-needed resource for both public and private decision making.

“Midwest Environmental Advocates thanks the 55 citizens who braved the cold and fierce wind to attend the meeting,” said Wright. “While our nonprofit law center is involved to encourage citizen participation in the DNR study, the public events are only made possible by the dedicated local residents who are unwaveringly committed to making their communities’ voices be heard. Members of the Save the Hills Alliance and local leaders spread the word, made the coffee, hauled their own tables and chairs to the hall and made citizen participation in democracy happen.”

The DNR is planning on issuing an online survey for the scoping process. While an online survey is a great way to collect information from people across the state, so many of the impacts of frac sand mining on people’s daily lives in western Wisconsin are rooted in their personal experience and stories which might not be captured in an online survey. Especially for those with limited internet access, in-person meetings are an excellent opportunity to allow the public to participate.

Two other public meetings are scheduled for next week. Meetings are free and open to the public. Midwest Environmental Advocates will continue to work in partnership with the DNR to ensure that people’s submitted comments at these public events are included in the agency’s scoping record.

Mondovi

What: Frac sand mining impacts – public meetings to advise scope of Department of Natural Resources strategic analysis of industry in Wisconsin

When: Monday, March 2, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Roger Marten Community Center, 120 S Franklin St, Mondovi, WI

Black River Falls

What: Frac sand mining impacts – public meetings to advise scope of Department of Natural Resources strategic analysis of industry in Wisconsin

When: Wednesday, March 4, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Ho-Chunk Gaming – Casino and Bingo Hall, W9010 Hwy 54 E, Black River Falls, WI 

 

Written comments may be sent to: DNROEEAComments@Wisconsin.gov or send them in the mail in care of Chris Willger, DNR, 1300 W. Clairemont Rd, Eau Claire, WI 54701.

/ tagged: frack, frac, frac sand, government