In a move that is causing Trempealeau County to relax its frac sand ordinance to allow longer hours of operation by mining and processing companies, the City of Blair annexed the Preferred Sands LLC mine from surrounding Preston Township to allow the county's largest sand mine to run around the clock, 365 days a year.
The move will deny the township tax revenues that it was counting on when it supported the mine's creation with restricted hours. Township residents also lost direct representation in dealings with the mine when the city took control. Kevin Lien, Trempealeau's director of land management, said the county is relaxing its ordinance to prevent similar annexations.
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The photo by Star Tribune photographer Brian Peterson shows the mine's ever-present nightime glow.