No other county in Minnesota or Wisconsin has permitted as many frac sand facilities as Trempealeau County, which borders the Mississippi River near Winona.

After approving 21 facilities over the past three years, the county's busy Environment and Land Use Committee denied its first application this week for a site in Chimney Rock Township just south of Eleva and southwest of Strum.

Land Management Director Kevin Lien said township officials came forward with a detailed position. "My committee listened to those reasons, along with some site-specific issues and denied it,'' Lien said.

Chimney Rock's established land use plan was an argument against frac sand. Eighty-four percent of residents surveyed for the plan had rated the township's natural beauty as the highest importance.

In addition, Chimney Rock's town assessor, Tim Zeglin, testified against the facility, which was to be operated by Sand Tech LLC of Watertown, Minn.

He wrote that people have been moving to the growing township and building homes in its woods and valleys "because it is quiet and scenic and there is wildlife running around in the hills and clean air and water.  If this mine or any other
mine is put in Chimney Rock, you are destroying any incentive people have to move there, to build there.''

Photo courtesy Trempealeau County

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