Trempealeau County Towns Vote To Sue Nearby City Over Frac Sand Mine Annexation

Independence Annexed Mine Over A Mile Away From Its Borders


Two towns in Trempealeau County have voted to sue the nearby community of Independence over what they say is an illegal annexation of a frac sand mine.

During a standing-room-only meeting, the town boards of Lincoln and Burnside voted to file the civil suit challenging the rent annexation. Normally, towns have no say in annexations unless they can argue that the land being annexed isn’t touching a city’s boundaries. In this case, the frac sand mine is over a mile away from the city.

Lincoln Town Board Chairman Jack Speerstra said they’ve already lost more than 1,000 acres to sand mine annexations, and that this one needs to be challenged.

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“It’s not just the loss of property, but it’s the folks around those mines and don’t have any say over how they’re going to be governed. And that’s just not right,” said Speerstra.

In October, the state Department of Administration offered their opinion on the annexation, saying it was not contiguous and that the towns had the right to sue.

Karen Geske said her property is next door the mine. She said other towns will be watching the court case.

“It would start to give some townships and the people that live in these townships a feeling of some sort of power,” said Geske. “I think right now everybody feels so powerless against entities like these sand mines because money is power.”

The towns have until Nov. 17 to file their lawsuit. Jack Speerstra said they’re leaving the door open for negotiations with the city, but will go to court if they’re not satisfied.

Texas-based Superior Silica Sands had been interested in buying the mine and expanding it to 1,600 acres. It recently offered a financial incentive to the town in an attempt to keep it from filing the suit.

Representatives for the company declined to comment at the meeting.