St. Charles highway for frac sand may imperil Amish way of life

  • Article by: JOSEPHINE MARCOTTY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 12, 2012 - 8:20 PM

Buggies, sand-laden trucks could fight for room.

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boofer35Jul. 12, 12 8:46 PM

Bottom line is who pays for the roads and it sure isn't the Amish. When they start paying for the highways then they can start complaining about who is using them and for what purpose they are being used. They are a danger when they are on the highways with their buggys and should be restricted in their use of the roads.

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jd55604Jul. 12, 12 9:50 PM

Perhaps the truckers should be protesting against these slow moving non-motorized buggies that are a threat to public safety. At least the truck drivers have DOT licenses and pay substantial taxes to use those roads. Maybe it would be more politically correct if these sand trucks were driven by Mennonites?

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whirlpooloffJul. 12, 1210:15 PM

Cry me a river! I want my oil. I pay gasoline taxes for that road.

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unionsrockJul. 12, 1210:15 PM

The Amish way of life would be one thing destroyed, another is the ecosystem. Trout streams, grouse forests, deer herds, oak forests, etc. would be forever changed.

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sinnigJul. 12, 1210:18 PM

900 round trips a day. That's 75 trucks coming or going per hour if they run 24 hours a day. If the town manages to restrict their hours of operation somewhat, it'll be even more per hour. Who would do that to their neighbors, Amish or other wise?

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selfmadeJul. 12, 1210:34 PM

One of our properties just south of Eau Claire is in a place where one sand mining company has been allowed to start mining in August. This property is also surrounded by Amish and English farmers/landowners as well. It's the same situation; it will bring 50-60 jobs which will be great, but the facility that is built will consume several million gallons of water from the water table every day, and will use a chemical (known carcinogen) leaching process to extract the exact type of high grade silica sand necessary for the frac mining process. Since there are no Federal environmental standards for non-metallic mining, the state has no standard in which to base it's laws to protect citizens on. Also the DNR has no special laws to protect ground water since the state has no written laws on sand mining since this is a completely new process. And these mining companies have been allowed to mine down to within five feet of the water table. Our neighbors about 2 miles down the road sold their 250 acre farm land for a few million, plus a percentage of the sand mined-estimated to be around 56 million. Once the companies are allowed to dig, they are in for a 30 year time frame without any threat to being shut down by town boards, counties, states etc...In essence we will be most likely be "pushed" out of our favorite wooded lands that we as kids spent many years growing up on as a retreat away from the cities...the trucks will be running about one every three minutes 14 hours a day for about 8 months a year for the next 30 years. Surely for some, the financial windfall will be appreciated, but for many who don't have at least 100 acres (companies want large plots of land to establish mines on) will be subject to utter chaos. I feel for these people who will be left behind to suffer the consequences of being "blessed" to be surrounded by natural beauty and serenity, yet built a life upon a substance that the government can't even stop being harvested. It's kind of like the land grab of the 1800s in a way...all of a sudden all of these sand mining companies are being created like shell companies hiding money in a financial scheme to protect themselves from environmental lawsuits and civil suits faster than laws can be written...and come to find out, how can a little sand mining company only in business for a year or two buy out my neighbor for several million and get advances of tens of millions? Halliburton has very deep pockets....RIP townships of Bridge Creek & Otter Creek WI...We had very good years together.

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OldGIJul. 12, 1210:40 PM

The owners of these trucks all pay over 2 grand a year per truck for license and the right to drive on the roads in MN. That money in turn will be used to build a newer, better road that bypasses downtown. And the Amish will get to use that road free of charge as well, just like all the other roads they use.

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goldengoph3rJul. 12, 1210:46 PM

Great comments, "boofer" and jd, thanks for stating the obvious. Yes, we all know trucks have a right to use the roads. Nobody is questioning that. But is there a possibility of preserving the heritage of the Amish while also accomodating the increase in truck traffic? I find it more than a little amusing that conservatives are so quick to jettison conservation in the name of 40-60 jobs.

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chuckdancerJul. 12, 1211:04 PM

1) It says this is a county road; 2) it says they pay property taxes; 3)they pay income tax; 4) they have every right any other citizen has.

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falcon1679Jul. 12, 1211:44 PM

boofer35 - Bottom line is who pays for the roads and it sure isn't the Amish. When they start paying for the highways then they can start complaining about who is using them and for what purpose they are being used. They are a danger when they are on the highways with their buggys and should be restricted in their use of the roads. ------------------- I wouldn't be so hard on the Amish if I were you. If Republicans get their way, you might be calling on them to train YOU on how to use a horse and buggy and live off the land. And BTW, the Amish do pay taxes on income.

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