Wisconsin river turns orange after emergency release of sand mine sludge

State and local authorities in western Wisconsin are working to determine the environmental impact after about 10 million gallons of sludge was released from a settling pond to rescue a worker at a Trempealeau County frac sand mine. > La Crosse Tribune

Marathon County is first in Wisconsin to pass sulfide mining ordinance

Marathon County is now the first in Wisconsin to pass an ordinance regulating sulfide mining, following the repeal of the state’s mining moratorium law. Counties have until July 1 to enact their own local regulations before gold and copper mining in the state becomes easier to initiate. > Wisconsin Public Radio

DNR staff felt pressured to approve wetland fill for frac sand mining project

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Staff at the DNR say they felt pressured by department administration to rush the approval of a controversial permit to fill 16 acres of high-quality wetlands in western Wisconsin that’s now being challenged in court, according to emails obtained by Wisconsin Public Radio through an open records request and interviews with former staffers. > Wisconsin Public Radio

New group challenging environmental groups on mining has GOP ties

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A new advocacy group, the Natural Resource Development Association, has emerged as a vocal advocate for pro-mining causes, clashing with conservationists along the way. Little has been revealed about the group’s support until last week, when it was disclosed that two mining companies are key financial supporters for its pro-business work. > Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Assembly revives wetlands exemption for Monroe County frac plant

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Assembly lawmakers have revived a measure that would let a controversial Monroe County frac sand operation bypass the appeals process. In the final minutes of a special session on school safety Thursday, the Assembly attached legislation allowing Meteor Timer to proceed regardless of a judge’s decision. > La Crosse Tribune

Plan to exempt sand project from DNR requirements collapses in Senate

A plan to grant environmental exemptions for a $70 million sand processing project in western Wisconsin fizzled after the state Senate declined to take up the measure on the last day of floor action. The exemptions were written for Meteor Timber, an Atlanta-based company that wants to build a processing plant and rail spur in Monroe County. > Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Marathon County to consider metallic mining restrictions in wake of new state law

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Marathon County officials are considering a policy that aims to guard against the potential harm of copper and gold mining. The proposal is a response to legislation signed by Gov. Scott Walker in December that paves the way for metallic mining in Wisconsin. > Wausau Daily Herald