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Conservation Hearing Tallies Show Reluctance Toward Sand Mines, CAFOs

Outdoor Enthusiasts Also Support Sandhill Crane Hunt

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A majority of Conservation Congress spring hearing attendees say the state should put the brakes on sand mines, large farms and high-capacity wells and repeal statutes relaxing iron mining regulations.

The congress asked attendees at its spring hearings in all 72 Wisconsin counties Monday questions intended to gauge opinion on outdoor and environmental topics.

According to tallies released Tuesday, 3,226 attendees said the state should place a moratorium on sand mine permits; 783 opposed the idea.

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Meanwhile, 3,310 said the state should suspend large livestock farm permit applications if pollution impacts require more study; 695 opposed the idea. And 3,988 said the state should suspend approval for high-capacity wells that have depleted surface waters; 231 opposed.

As for the iron mine law, 2,704 said repeal it; 1,089 said keep it.

A question proposing a sandhill crane hunting season was also voted through, but by a narrower margin of just 300 votes.

But the DNR’s liaison to the congress, Kari-Lee Zimmerman, said the sandhill hunt question has passed twice before. She said this week’s result won’t become law overnight, and may not ever.

“You know it’s not something the DNR can move forward with, without some legislative action, so it’s information for the legislators and the public to see where other people are at on the issue,” she said.

Zimmerman said the question on the crane hunt is one of 48 the Conservation Congress will talk about when it meets next month. Same goes for results backing a ban on new frac sand mines, and a potential slowdown on approving large farms known as CAFOs.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. April 12 to include original reporting from WPR.