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Frac Sand Lawsuits Pitting Town Versus Nearby Cities

Trempealeau County Town Is Engaged In Two Lawsuits Pertaining To Annexations

frac sand mine site
carol mitchell (CC-BY-NC-ND)

A town in Trempealeau County is wrapping up the first of two lawsuits with neighboring cities for what it calls illegal annexations of frac sand mines.

Sand companies are using city annexations to skirt tough regulations set by the county.

The Town of Lincoln has been in court for a year fighting the city of Independence over an annexation of a frac sand mine. This week, officials will sign a boundary agreement barring any large-scale land grabs for 20 years.

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But while the ink dries, Town of Lincoln Board Chair Jack Speerstra said they’re headed to court for a second annexation battle, this time with the city of Whitehall. He said without changes to annexation law, he doesn’t see any end in sight.

“Through legislation, they could better define it but I just don’t see the political will to do that,” he said. “So, it most likely is going to take a court decision.”

Speerstra said taking a case to the appeals or state Supreme Court would set precedent, but it’s an expensive and risky venture for a small town.

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