LVNWP direct result of lack of representation


Dear Editor:


Discrediting oppositional groups such as LVNWP, and causing division in the community is a tactic that mining companies use to take the focus off from themselves and the very real issues associated with mining. This also effectively scares off others that would like to take a stand, but do not because they do not want to suffer the consequences. So, the vocal community members argue amongst themselves over inconsequential issues, and the rest of the community remains silent out of fear or disinterest. In the meantime, the mine is freed up to move forward toward its goal. Unfortunately, our community may very well suffer.


LVNWP members have tried to be careful of personal attacks, but the letter to the editor in last weeks paper must be responded to. The Larkin Valley No Winn Project would not have been formed if our board chairman had not taken an immediate position defending the proposed silica/frac sand mine and a reluctance to listen to residents that would be directly affected by it. If we felt the board chairman (who is supposed to represent citizens of our community, not mining interests) was truly looking out for residents and our community we would not be spending any of our own time and money to research and oppose this project because it would have been done for us. Is it appropriate for the board chairman to be the one attempting to discredit the LVNWP? We expected something like that from the mine, but not from our own chairman. What does an irrigation system on a farm in Trempealeau or air quality monitors at our national parks have to do with this issue (an attempt at clouding the true issues)? If water is not a problem, why do residents that live around other silica/frac mines have sediment in their water and wells that go bad? Don’t take our word for it, google it! As for the other board members, we really appreciate your time and efforts in regard to this issue. Being a board member in times such as these cannot be easy.


In regard to the flier and map- people have to purchase maps made from the Trempealeau County Department of Land Records, that does not make it invalid. If you doubt the map, go onto the Trempealeau County website, look at the properties and research the area. Additional information was, of course, added by LVNWP to create the flier.


It is true that most studies done on silicosis are done occupationally. However, if residents may be exposed to levels above the occupational standard (“Doctors’ want sand mine delayed...”, it would stand to reason there is a potential health issue for residents. We understand that the incidence of silicosis in the US is low due to worker protection (residents will not have protective equipment.) Silicosis is only one of the residents’ many, many worries. Other health concerns would be an increase in the risk of cancer, COPD, exacerbated asthma, cardiovascular disease, and more due to an increase in fine particulate matter. If someone near a mine dies due to a heart attack or asthma attack, would an autopsy be done to determine if the mine had contributed to it? Studies have shown that there is a significant increase in health risks with regard to particulate matter. Who has the money to prove that the mine caused problems with wells, foundations, water, or air? Information gathered and compiled by LVNWP is in excerpt form or is summarized and materials given to the board were sited and sourced so they can view the full documents. Anyone that has the time to view the full texts from each source is strongly encouraged to do so.


Our chairman also discredited the two studies done on property values by the W.E. Upjohn Institute and The Centre for Spatial Economics. We believe they relate, and we know that the township is financially unable to fund a study of our own. The next best thing is to look for studies done that are as close as possible. In fact, a silica sand mine and processing plant in its scope would more than likely be worse than the gravel pit/rock quarry the studies looked at. We believe with certainty that nearby property values will decrease if the property is not desirable to the mine. We encourage the board or anyone interested in property values to ask a realtor how adjacent property values (not desired by the mine) will be affected. A local realtor told us that adjacent property values could lose up to 50% of their value. In addition, in last week’s letter to the editor, it was stated that “if the mine starts up [the township’s assessor] will not be changing any values.” How unfair for nearby residents. There is NO GAIN for those that are not selling.


It is true that LVNWP met with the representative for Winn Bay. It is completely untrue that the 88 questions were answered. In fact, the representative for Winn Bay stated that answering all of the citizen questions would be “too cumbersome.” The board was not invited because of the short notice- we were told all board members have to give at least 24 hrs. posted notice before they can attend a meeting together and there simply was not time. The rep for the mine agreed to attend the meeting the evening before it was scheduled. In addition, the board chair has given a very poor reception to concerned citizens about the mine. Without the board present, neighbors could freely ask questions without fear of criticism from those that are profiting and/or support it. We do want the board and members of our community to hear what was discussed, so the meeting was videotaped for public record and has been sent to each board member. Anyone else interested in viewing this meeting can e-mail


At the March 15th town board meeting, a citizen asked if the board had been threatened with any lawsuits from the company. The citizen also suggested that the board get in writing that the mine would not sue the township for voting either way on the project. Are we going to put our community at risk because of the threat of lawsuit? Another tactic mining companies frequently use! If the company does not sign, we’ll have a really clear understanding of how they would operate.


Again, don’t let community division cloud the bottom line which is: “Is a silica/frac sand mine and processing plant GOOD for our community and the residents of our community?” Research the issues, make a decision, and don’t be scared to get involved!



Bethany Nelson, Township of Preston

Allen & Cathy Buresh, Township of Preston

Steven & Rae Delle Nelson, Township of Preston

Shannon & Tracey Leer, Township of Preston

Jeff & Amy Swanson, Township of Preston

Dan Lee, Blair

Jennifer Robinson, Onalaska

Dana Nelson, Township of Preston





Dear Editor,

As many are now aware, the Canadian company, Winn Bay Sand, has proposed a silica sand mine and processing plant near our home on Schansberg Road. We have researched the negative effects that silica sand mining can have on nearby residents and properties, and would like to outline a few reasons we are opposed to this development.

The number one reason for our opposition is that the proposed site is too populated. Residents will be exposed to silica dust and other airborne pollutants, noise pollution, possible structural damage from blasting, as well as the potential for groundwater pollution. In addition, property values will likely decline. As business owners ourselves, we are in no way anti-business. We would be more than happy to see more businesses move into the area, as long as they are not economically destructive or hazardous to our health.

We have been asked on more than one occasion in recent weeks why we do not just “sit back and let it [the sand mine] happen.” It has been suggested that we could make a nice profit when the mine moves in our direction and purchases additional property. The answer is that we simply love our home and the area in which we live.  More importantly, we care about the health and well-being of our family and neighbors. In light of potential personal gain, Corporate America (or in this case, Corporate Canada) may not understand our motivation for opposing, but we’re guessing many of you do- that is one of the reasons we’ve enjoyed small-town living. We are not willing to trade our way of life, our family’s health or the health of our neighbors for a profit, a job, or a tax break.

Jeff & Amy Swanson

Schansberg Road




Mine not Compatible with Township’s Comprehensive Plan

Dear Editor:

A Canadian company has proposed a silica/frac sand mine and processing plant less than a mile northwest of Blair. We believe the proposed mine and processing plant is not compatible with the Town Of Preston’s Comprehensive Plan (2009-2029). Excerpts from the plan read as follows:

5.5  Natural, Agricultural, and Cultural Resources, Goals, Objectives, and Actions 

Goal: Preserve, protect, manage and enhance the town’s natural resources.

  • Objective 1: Protect stream banks from harmful land uses.

  • Objective 2: Protect surface and groundwater quality.

  • Objective 3: Protect and preserve wetlands, wildlife habitat, and woodlands.

8.13  Proposals for new non-agricultural commercial and industrial developments will be considered on the basis of the following factors:

  • The developments propensity to negatively impact air, surface water and groundwater quality.

  • The degree to which the development adversely impacts residents of the surrounding area by creating noise, vibrations, odors, congestion or other undesirable elements.

  • The economic impact of commercial and industrial projects should result in positive net economic gains for the township when the costs of creating and/or maintaining public infrastructure and services needed to support the development are taken into consideration.

  • The developments consistency with the townships land use plan.

  • The developments impact on the quality of life and rural nature of the Township.

9.5  Land Use:

  • Goal: Preserve the rural character of the landscape.

  • Goal: Preservation of natural areas- quality of groundwater, rivers, streams, wetlands and woodlands.

8.2  Town Questionnaire - 190 responses (Comprehensive Plan, pgs. 44-45):

Over 50% of respondents agreed with the following statements:

  • Wooded areas should be preserved.

  • Wetlands, wildlife acres, and open spaces should be preserved.

  • The rural, farming appearance of the township is important to me.

  • There should be more restriction on land development.

  • Farm operations should not be restricted by neighbors who are not farmers.

“The majority of landowners feel that residential development and industrial development should not be promoted. Agricultural land preservation was important to the majority of landowners.” (Comprehensive Plan, pg.45)

Small Business: With the addition of 3 businesses not listed in the comprehensive plan (a daycare, kennel, and beekeeping operation), there are 30 businesses in the township. Nine, or 30% of the township’s small businesses are located around the base of the proposed mine. Of those 9 businesses, 7 business owners stated that they would shut- down, relocate or seriously consider relocating if the mine were operational. This accounts for 24 jobs between business owners and employees that could be displaced as a result of the mine.

Small business owner, Shannon Leer, has reason to be very concerned about the proposed project. “The ground vibration in cold weather is detrimental to colonies (bee hives). Once the mine is up and operating, I would have no choice but to move my beekeeping operation elsewhere.”

At the township meeting in November, a representative for the mine stated that there would be estimated 20-25 jobs. If these small businesses are displaced and the mine brings in 20 jobs, the township could actually lose jobs as well as the small businesses that supported them.

6.9 Economic Development Goals, Objectives, and Actions

Objective 1: Promote entrepreneurship and growth of small businesses within the town.

As stated earlier, we do not believe that the proposed Canadian-based silica/ frac sand mine and processing plant is compatible with the Town of Preston’s Comprehensive Plan (2009-2029).


Bethany Nelson- Blair

Jeff & Amy Swanson- Blair

Larkin Valley No Winn Project







Dear Editor,

Many citizens are wondering why Winn Bay Sand was afforded the opportunity to have their meeting with the Township Board called an “informational meeting,” allowing the public to address the company. Why weren’t residents with questions at the January 18th meeting allowed the same courtesy of an “informational meeting?” The board labeling the meeting as such would have enabled citizens to address questions directly to the doctors that came to educate us about potential health affects of the mine.


The Town of Preston board meeting from January 18th, 2010 will be airing on TCCTV. We encourage citizens concerned about the potential impacts of Winn Bay Sand’s proposed mine and processing plant to watch. Check your local listings.



Shannon and Tracey leer

Larkin Valley Rd.


Business owner 400+/- yds from proposed mine property line





Has Winn Bay investigated other sites?

Dear Editor

On January 18 at the Town of Preston Board meeting, Larkin Valley No Winn Project presented the board with a list of 88 questions and concerns for the Canadian firm of Winn Bay Sand Limited Partnership. The board is providing a conduit for these citizen concerns to be addressed by the company. For a complete list of questions and concerns, go to LVNWP website at: http://lvnwp.yolasite com/

Here are 5 important questions from that list.

1. Has Winn Bay investigated Dubbert Road as a potential site? Square Bluff? Fly Creek? Peterson Coulee? Lone Star? What other sites have been investigated?

2. When does Winn Bay plan on building a resin plant on the properties they have current contracts with?

3. Property owners adjacent to the property are projected to have their property values decrease by 30-50 percent(30 percent documented studies - 50 percent local realtor). In November, Winn Bay's representative state this would be a win-win situation. How is it a "win" for these property owners?

4. How far out from the perimeter of the blasting area will a pre-blasting inspection of buildings occur?

5. It is our understanding that processing for frac sand requires huge quantities of water. What is Winn Bay's expected daily budget for water use?


Albert Przybilla Jr., Blair;

Bethany Nelson, Blair;

David Jacobs, Blair.

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