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Group forms to oppose sand mine in Larkin Valley

The Blair Press-Taylor of Blair, Wisconsin

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Residents of Larkin Valley, Snake Coulee, and Schansberg Road, and the City of Blair met to form a formal opposition group to the proposed "Larkin Valley Project", a silica sand mine operation proposed by a Canadian firm called Winn Bay Sand Limited Partnership.

Winn Bay has proposed a silica sand mine about a half-mile northwest of Blair, north of Schansberg Road. According to information presented at a meeting in November, the organization would ship the sand, via rail, for use in the gas and oil industry.

The coalition of concerned residents call their group the Larkin Valley No Winn Project, LVNWP. The group's mission is "to preserve the quality of life of our families, neighbors, and community."

The group raises many concerns including the proximity of the proposed silica sand mine to a populated area; air, land, water, and noise pollution; and the long-term effects such a large scale operation would have on area residents and the environment.

LVNWP is working closely with a similar group from Chippewa Falls known as the Concerned Chippewa Citizens, CCC. That group successfully halted a similar project proposed in Chippewa. A group of Chippewa Valley doctors and toxi-cologists are also working with the group to inform the LVNWP and area residents of the effects of silica dust, an airborne product from this type of mining operation.

LVNWP plans to hold a series of public forums to address health, environmental, and other concerns.

These forums will allow area residents to form an educated opinion and will give residents a chance to voice their thoughts on the proposed mining operations.

A membership meeting and project update from the LVNWP will be held on Wed., Jan. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Blair Community Center. Petitions opposing the project are currently being circulated by members. These petitions will be presented to the Town of Preston Board.

For more information about the meeting and petition drive, contact Amy Swanson.

Original Publication Date: December 24, 2009



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