Sand Mine Companies
Posted: August 12, 2011
When the first sand mine company decided to buy some land in Chippewa County and develop the property a few years ago, I was enamored with the idea that jobs would be created and the local economy would be enhanced. Since that time, at least three corporations have become landowners and are in the process of changing the landscape as it relates to the mining industry in West Central Wisconsin. As it stands now, there are at least seven active or proposed sand mines in Chippewa County alone.
I am all for job creation and I used to believe that the naysayers about sand mine development was due to the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) theory. In other words, I felt that the neighbors of the proposed sand mines were against the projects because they lived near the proposed developments.
After further consideration, I am a bit uneasy about how the multi-national corporations have started to establish some of the operations in parts of Chippewa County without any written rules in place. As much as some of the mining companies try to tell the media and public that they are adhering to the local regulations, I have spoken with at least a dozen individuals who live near proposed sand mines that have no clue as to what is being developed in their back yard.
I can only hope that some of the town and county boards will take up the issues in future meetings and assure their constituents that their decisions are in the best interest of the taxpayers. If not, then there is a chance that this influx of mining operations could potentially cause more damage than good.
*Three years ago, I threw out the first pitch for the Eau Claire Express game for "Festival in the Pines" night. The experience was humiliating. As a former high school baseball player and Little League coach, I was embarrassed that the ceremonial pitch I threw landed 15 feet short of home plate. I even practiced by throwing a tennis ball against the wall of a neighborhood school building.
So, in an effort to rebuild my ego, I threw out the first pitch at Tuesday night's Eau Claire Express game for the annual "Festival in the Pines" night. This time, I did not practice beforehand. And, I decided to pitch from the stretch to give myself a better chance of throwing the ball at least 60 feet in the air.
The pitch was high and outside, but at least I made it to home plate.