By DENA EAKLES | Ontario
Forty people traveled from eight counties in Wisconsin to tour sand mining operations around Jackson County. What we learned:
Communities are divided as high percentages of acreage are devoured for sand. These are not the old gravel pits. They are sprawling, and much of the land sold for mining is by absentee landowners who do not share the love or history of the area.
The legal fight is on with this understanding, “Yes, you can sell your land to anyone, but it is not permissible or legal for whomever buys your land to cause a nuisance for the neighbors living here.”
For some, the battle to save their land and way of life is only a few months old. For many, it is years in the making. Some spoke of their weariness. Perhaps we should all take a turn living day after day, 24 hours a day, year after year (most mines are allowed to operate for 25 years) with explosions, sand dust, shaking homes, children afraid and made ill by the constant disturbance, animals dying and with no or questionable water to drink and bath.
The mining industry has done an excellent job hiding these people from sight and in declaring “mom and pop” status, yet most are huge corporations with international ties. Perhaps it is time we consider the lives disrupted by extreme extraction. It’s time to reconsider our energy usage and to move to more peaceful, renewable sources of energy. It is possible.