Mining threatens natural beauty

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: December 19 2013 | 3:52 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 1:05 am in
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A Dec. 12 presentation in Iowa City by the Allamakee County Protectors should raise the alarm about the threat to our natural environment posed by the sudden emergence of frac sand mining in Wisconsin and northeast Iowa.

We are seeing the mining of fine sand from the hills and bluffs of Wisconsin and Iowa to provide the particular kind of sand used in the fracking process in other parts of the country. What this means in practice is the complete removal of hills and bluffs, some of them hundreds of feet high, and their reduction to desolate gravel pits. There were five of these mines in Wisconsin in 2010; today, there are 115 mines and that number is likely to grow. And this “mountaintop” removal mining is happening in Clayton County and threatens to advance in Allamakee County.

In addition to the threat to the extraordinary natural beauty of northeast Iowa, this destruction threatens air and water quality, poses risks to the aquifers we depend on for water, and undermines property values for nearby property owners.

Contact local political leaders and the governor’s office to let them know: We do not want to allow northeast Iowa to be physically and permanently destroyed. Say no to this planned destruction of our natural environment.

Scott R. Grau

Iowa City

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