Council cites local control, concerns in opposition to mining bill

The Oshkosh Common Council went on record opposing a Wisconsin Senate bill that would end local oversight of nonmetallic mines, air quality and water quality.

Citing a desire to retain local control over things like the Vulcan Quarry, councilors unanimously approved a resolution opposing Wisconsin Senate Bill 349 Tuesday night.

“Operators of Vulcan Quarry could expand operations and we’d have no way of dealing with that in the interest of our citizens,” Councilor Tom Pech Jr. said. “it would have to be as the ladies and gentlemen of Madison deem fit.”

Right now, the quarry operators would have to secure a conditional use permit from the city and have their proposed plans subject to hearings that would give local residents a chance to provide input. A Nov. 5 city staff memo indicates SB 349 would preempt stormwater management standards the city has enacted and would appear to permit unregulated expansion of Vulcan Quarry operations.

“The city of Oshkosh is in a better position to evaluate and regulate these uses than the (Department of Transportation) which is why under the city’s current ordinance such land uses are regulatied through conditional use permits because of their special nature,” the memo reads.

In his role as representative to the city’s Stormwater Management Committee, Councilor Kyle Clark has spent a lot of time researching the bill and its implications. He said Oshkosh is not the only city concerned with SB 349 and expects other cities will follow Oshkosh’s lead shortly.

“As cities, we’re sending a clear message to Madison and our representatives,” Clark said. “In order to best represent our citizens, you can’t take the local control away from us.”

About Jeff Bollier

Jeff Bollier is an award-winning public affairs reporter for the Oshkosh Northwestern who covers everything from city hall to business. As Streetwise, Jeff delivers updates on the comings and goings of Oshkosh's retail and business world. Jeff is an avid Instagram and Twitter user and a member of the Northwestern Bacon Team.
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