(1/10/14) The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Monday approved a critical element of AllEnergy's proposed sand mine rail loop southwest of Arcadia.
The DNR determined that the design meets state standards related to wetland water quality certification and Wis. Stat. Chapt. 30 for navigable waterways, concluding a stringent permit review process that began in October of 2013. The DNR's decision marks the latest victory for community proponents of a state-of the-art sand mining operation that would bring jobs, tax revenue and millions of dollars in charitable investment to the region over the next three decades.
"I applaud the DNR's exercise of due diligence and AllEnergy's commitment to protecting our local wetlands," said Ron Tuschner, Town of Arcadia Board of Supervisors Chair. "This process should serve as a model for state-private cooperation to achieve business development in an environmentally friendly manner."
The rail loop, which would be constructed along the existing rail line adjacent to the Trempealeau River and west of County Road J, was found by the DNR to meet or exceed Wisconsin wetland and waterway protection standards including waterway navigation, wildlife habitat, flood flow capacity, water quality and overall public interest.
"We understand the painstaking steps the DNR takes to protect Wisconsin's wetlands, and we are proud to have a site plan that meets these rigorous requirements," said Dean Sukowatey, President and CEO of AllEnergy. "We have worked hard to develop a plan that benefits local jobs and commerce while meeting our responsibilities as environmental stewards. Receiving this approval from the DNR is a necessary and important milestone. We look forward to the next step in this process."
The DNR arrived at its decision following a comprehensive process that included site investigations, written and oral public comments, data obtained from local, state and federal agencies, published scientific research and statutory requirements.