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Appeals court OK's new frac sand mine

GILMANTON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)  A proposed frac-sand mine appears to have the green light in far western Wisconsin, after a state appeals court upheld Buffalo County's approval of the project. A three-judge panel in Wausau yesterday affirmed a circuit judge's refusal to overturn a conditional use permit for R-and-J Rolling Acres to run a 125-acre silica-sand operation.

Mike O'Connor of rural Gilmanton objected to higher traffic volumes of heavy trucks going to-and-from the mining site. He also challenged the Buffalo County Board of Adjustment's approval of a revised traffic proposal in 2012, saying it was similar to the one the board originally turned down. The mine's developer, Glacier Sands, said there were no laws against non-metallic mining in the county's agricultural district -- and there were no laws preventing a revised application from being taken up.

O'Connor's lawyer, John Ekman, tells the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram he might appeal the matter to the State Supreme Court. An attorney for the board of adjustment said it acted on additional information from the mine's operator -- and because it addressed previous concerns, he does not believe the Supreme Court would consider an appeal request.

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