A group of Republican lawmakers from western Wisconsin is voicing concerns over a state Senate bill seeking to limit local control over frac sand mining.
During the last year, local, unzoned governments have used what are called “police powers” to create regulations for frac sand companies. A recently introduced state Senate bill, known as the Regulatory Certainty Act , would scale back those and other local controls over the industry.
Now, a group of five Republican lawmakers led by state Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, has sent a letter urging the bill's author to change it.
Knudson said local governments have these powers to ensure citizens aren't harmed by the rapidly growing industry.
“I do think local governments should have the ability to exercise their local police powers for certain, over hours of operation and things like lighting and noise," he said.
State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, wrote the controversial bill. He said he appreciates the input from the lawmakers in frac sand country.
“We've gotten many suggestions about how we can make the bill better, so we're really encouraged by that, but the main thing is we get it right," Tiffany said.
That said, Tiffany said something needs to be done about police powers. He said that's because activists opposed to frac sand mining are pushing local governments to use ordinances to keep sand companies out.
“So, you have people with an ideological bias and it's some of those people who have been trying to throw a monkey wrench into this," he said.
Tiffany said there will be changes made in his bill and he hopes to pass it as soon as possible.
Republican state Assembly Leader Robin Vos, though, said lawmakers won't take it up until spring.