Town of Bridge Creek Capitulates to Mining Company Again

August 6, 2017  by Christine Yellowthunder

Sand mines will never repair nor compensate for the damages they impose on local government and communities. Trust in local government is dissolving at statements that “their hands are tied” when it comes to enforcing the town’s ordinances.

The Town Board of Bridge Creek held a Special Meeting on August 1, 2017 at 4:00 pm. This Special Meeting was held to vote upon the approval or denial of mining an additional 40 acres Hi-Crush purchased off of County road RR, 100 yards from an Amish school. The existing Mining Ordinance clearly states that blasting within 1 mile of any school would not be allowed.

Photo by Jane Justesen, Augusta, WI

Five Bridge Creek landowners and residents along with a homeowner from Augusta attended the meeting along with approximately 30 large and burly male employees of Hi-Crush including their attorney, who stood or sat around the single row of residents. No verbal participation from residents was allowed at this meeting. There was almost no discussion from the Board either regarding this vote other than noting that Hi-Crush revised whatever they had previously submitted.

When asked for a motion, silence reigned and silence appears to have become a trademark of this town board. The two newest members of the board made the motion to approve and seconded the motion. The final vote consisted of the two oldest board members voting NO and the two newest members, who had previously made statements against this approval, voted YES.

The Town Chair immediately voted YES to break the tie. The town’s attorney could not have moved fast enough to get signature approval from the Chair even though no notary was available at the meeting.

I left the meeting at this time and encountered the Hi-Crush employees standing in a group by the exit to the road. The intent to intimidate is not an illusion.

Prior to this meeting, the Hi-Crush mine had blasted around noon and although I live one mile from the mine as the crow flies, my entire house shook with windows rattling, perhaps the strongest blast we have experienced during the five years.

This Fall season may prove quite interesting for those of us who live South of the mine. Hi-Crush stated earlier this year in February at a Town Board meeting that it wanted approval for this expansion as soon as possible so they could blast this new 40 acres and be done by the end of this coming Fall.

I cannot remain silent having witnessed intimidation and failure to protect. But I can put forth good action every opportunity I have for the well being of the earth and humanity. We may experience many failures when we speak the truth. However, it is endurance that wins. I will not be silent and deny what I witnessed again.

[Editor’s Note: Christine Yellowthunder lives in the Town of Bridge Creek, Eau Claire County Wisconsin. This article is reprinted from Issue #150 of the Frac Sand Sentinel, a project of the Save the Hills Alliance.]

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