Falls Chamber Takes a Stand on Frac Sand Traffic

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July 11, 2014

North Branch City Council
6408 Elm Street
PO Box 910
North Branch, MN 55056

Attn: Mayor Ronald Lindquist and Council members: Kathy Blomquist, Joyce Borchardt, Theresa Furman, and Trent Jenson

Re: Proposed Superior Silica Frac Sand Operation in the Essby Business Park

Dear Mayor and Council members:

The Falls Chamber of Commerce is writing to ask for a review and reconsideration of the transportation route the Superior Silica Sand trucks will be using to transport the product from Poskin, Wisconsin to North Branch, Minnesota. We share the concern of the Taylors Falls City Council and St. Croix Falls City Council that health and safety will be at risk with the amount of truck traffic that is proposed by Superior Silica Sands LLC. We are also deeply concerned with the impact this truck traffic will have on the business in Taylors Falls and unintended consequences it may have on businesses in St. Croix Falls.

Taylors Falls is a thriving tourist destination. Wisconsin Tourism estimates $231.65 million in spending and tourism related economic activity for the Greater St. Croix Valley. Talyors Falls and St. Croix Falls lie at the top of this prosperous region. An estimated 1.19 million tourist and over 20,000 vehicles per day in July visit our Valley each year May thru October. Interstate State Park is the second busiest in Minnesota with 420,000 visitors and Interstate Park in Wisconsin has 350,000 visitors.

The health and safety concerns are enormous, not just for area residents, but also for the visitors and tourists who come to enjoy our scenic communities. We have already received comments from tourist that they would not visit the area with this kind of traffic. If that happens, our community  will become a ghost town and the ripple effect on St. Croix Falls will be equally bad.

Intentionally routing trucks into this congestion is not good business and certainly undermines the viability of the proposal; viability the City of North Branch will rely on for tax revenue. This kind of traffic will not only disturb tourism, the impact to the businesses on Bench Street could be catastrophic. The level of truck traffic being proposed by Superior Silica Sands LLC in their May 2014 document will grind ALL business activity in the corridor to a halt.

A thriving local economy, jobs and a growing tax base are central to the shared mission of local government and business. We are in support of business, but business interests need to be balanced and not gained at the expense of an entire community. We ask you to consider the impacts the current proposal through Taylors Falls will have on residents, our businesses and the entire area and figure out a better route.

We respectfully ask you to consider our concerns regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Pam Stratmoen
Board President
Falls Chamber or Commerece

Cc: Board of Directors

  • Mayor Mike Buchite, City of Taylors Falls, MN
  • Mayor Brian Blesi, City of St. Croix Falls, WI
  • Rick Shearer, CEO, Superior Silica Sand, LLC
  • Representative Bob Barrett, MN
  • Representative Erik Severson, WI
  • Senator Sean Nienow, MN
  • Senator Sheila Harsdorf, WI
  • Scott McBrice, Metro District Engineer, MNDOT
  • Don Gutkowski, Director, WISDOT
  • Jerry Mentzel, Deputy Director, WISDOT
  • Captain Tim Rogotske, Minnesota State Patrol
  • Sergeant Tim Weiberg, Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Lieutenant Mike Klingenberg, Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Captain Jeff Frenette, Wisconsin State Patrol
  • Sheriff Rick Duncan, Chisago County
  • Sheriff Peter Johnson, Polk County

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Falls Chamber Press Release

News Article in the Star Tribune

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