Madison Lawmaker Wants Frac Sand Miners To Pay Shipping Fees To State

Brett Hulsey Says Fee Will Be Tool For Tracking Sand Moved Out Of State


State Rep. Brett Hulsey, D-Madison, will introduce a bill requiring frac sand miners to pay a dollar fee for each ton of sand they ship out of state.

Hulsey said his impact fee would be similar to severance taxes paid by mining firms in other states. He also said this will allow people to know just how much sand is leaving the state.

“The important thing is that the strip miners should pay their fair share,” said Hulsey. “We should know exactly the tonnage that they’re collecting. Then we can also assess the impact on our roads,” said Hulsey.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The bill also directs the Department of Natural Resources to hire an additional 10 staff to monitor the industry. In its last budget proposal, the DNR asked for two staff but said they could use as many as 10 extra people.

Hulsey estimated that between $28 million and $30 million could be generated in the first year from the fee.

“This sets up this impact fund, funds the DNR staff to regulate the industry, and then sets up a pool (for) the counties and towns that they can draw from, so that they don’t have to go through the regulatory burden themselves,” said Hulsey.

But the frac sand industry is skeptical about the per ton fee. Rich Budinger, president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, says they already pay plenty to do business in Wisconsin.

“We’ve been strictly regulated, and we’ll continue to be strictly regulated and bring a positive economic impact to the State of Wisconsin,” said Budinger.

Hulsey’s bill hasn’t been formally introduced and will likely face an uphill battle in the Legislature.

Editor’s Note: The Department of Natural Resources declined to be interviewed for this story.