The state D-N-R will hold a public hearing in Tomah April 18th on permits for an industrial sand drying plant that would remove almost 17 acres of wetland forests.
The agency has tentatively approved Meteor Timber's plan for a large drying facility and rail spurs close to Interstate 94 in Monroe County in western Wisconsin -- plus a sand mine to the east in Jackson County. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the amount of lost wetland forests is the largest for a sand project in Wisconsin since 2008, but Meteor Timber says the environmental benefits would outweigh those losses. The firm now says it plans to protect 643 acres in two easements to would expand habitat for a threatened rattlesnake, plus create more room for other reptiles and animals. The D-N-R says part of the purpose for its hearing to determine the sand facility's environmental impact -- and the U-S Army Corps of Engineers must also approve the project.