Pattison wins mine lawsuit
Pattison Sand victorious in
lawsuit against Riverway Board
By Ted Pennekamp
In a hearing on Tuesday afternoon in Lancaster, Grant County Circuit Court Judge Craig Day ruled in favor of the Pattison Sand Company in its lawsuit against the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board regarding the proposed sand mine in the town of Bridgeport. Day was the substitute judge in the Crawford County case.
The minutes of the hearing said in part, “The Riverway Board erroneously interpreted the law” when it voted to deny the non-metallic mining permit to the Pattison Sand Company for a frac sand mine on land within the Riverway Boundary between Highway 60 and the Wisconsin River.
Day’s ruling said that the Pattison Sand Company will be granted the permit and that no new permitting process is required. The minutes from the hearing also stated, “Residents have the right to use their land for any legal purpose.”
The Riverway Board had voted 6-2 against granting the permits to the Pattison Sand Company of Clayton, Iowa and four Bridgeport landowners at a meeting on Aug. 22, 2013, in the Crawford County Administrative Building. The law required the board to vote in favor of granting the permits if the proposed mine could not be seen from the Wisconsin River during leaf-on conditions. A viewshed analysis by the Wisconsin Cartographer’s Office that the board had commissioned showed that the mine would not be visible during leaf-on conditions. Visibility from the Wisconsin River is the only factor that the Riverway Board was to have considered in whether or not to grant the permit. Board members voting against the permit cited other factors as the reasons for their votes, however.
The portion of the proposed mine within the Riverway Boundary is 53 acres of which 41 acres is proposed to be mined. The total proposed mine site is 305 acres.
Judge Day is also the substitute judge in a pending lawsuit by the Crawford Stewardship Project and several town of Bridgeport citizens against the Bridgeport Town Board and the Bridgeport Planning Commission regarding alleged conflict of interest.