Local units of government are more able to tailor their policies to fit local conditions and preferences.
In addition, citizens are closest to and therefore more able to monitor and influence the activities of their local government.
About two months ago a republican authored bill (SB349) was introduced to pre-empt local regulations for non-metallic mining, which includes frac sand. This also would cover surface water, groundwater, and air quality.
It would also prevent local municipalities from recovering the cost of road repairs from the trucks hauling sand. At the same time the roads are deteriorating at a faster rate than they are being repaired. This means more damaged roads in our state and a greater cost to the local taxpayer's to repair them.
Local control can be difficult at times when it comes to utility or coal plants coming in. The not-in-my-backyard syndrome can be detrimental to the public good.
Local town boards aren't always knowledgeable enough and individual members don't want to be the bad guys. Therefore the state does need some standards to guide them and support structures to assist them.
However, the citizens of Chippewa Falls should decide how long the train can block County Highway S. If a resident next to a mine site has lights in their house all night, their local town board should be able to require the mine company to build a berm, not a bureaucrat in Madison.
The bill's authors want to streamline and standardize the rules and regulations for the booming industry.
I don't believe our local environment and local tax payers should be held liable for streamlining. It was our uniqueness that attracted the companies to our area
I encourage local residents to learn more about this issue, contact their elected officials in opposition, and actively engage in their local affairs.
Chippewa County Farmers Union President