Thursday - March 2, 2017 1:37 am

Skepticism around frac-mining company that plans to replace wetlands for ones it destroys

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Expert says it's not just a matter of replacing wetlands.

There's skepticism over the latest plan for a frac-sand mining facility in Monroe and Jackson counties.

Meteor Timber is saying it plans a massive wetlands preservation and restoration project to make up for the 16 acres of wetlands it will destroy with a large frac-sand mining facility.

Replacing wetlands, however, isn't that easy, says Tressie Kamp, an attorney with Midwest Environmental Advocates.

"It's not just take away 100 acres, build 100 acres," Kamp said. "There are entire DNR and Army Corps of Engineers program staff who work to analyze applications to make sure that if you're using wetland mitigation ... that they're providing comparable benefits."

Kamp and her organization is calling for a complete review of the Meteor plans before federal and state regulators grant the project needed permits.

Those 16 acres along I-94 Meteor plans on taking are the most of any frac-sand project since the state started issuing permits nearly 10 years ago.  

Meteor is the largest private landowner in the state and says it will call for a restoration project that would exceed 600 acres.

"It's really important that, regardless of the financial or political influence of an applicant, that an application process be transparent to the public and undergo thorough scrutiny," Kamp said. 

 

Rick Solem

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