Town of Kinnickinnic passes fire-call resolution, moratorium on frac-sand miningA big turnout of Kinnickinnic residents came Wednesday, Nov. 7, for the Special Electors and regular Town Board meetings. They were there to discuss various issues, such as frac-sand mining, a new winery venture, a road dedication and the ongoing struggle with Midwest Natural Gas regarding the billing of fire calls.
By: Sarah Young, River Falls Journal
A big turnout of Kinnickinnic residents came Wednesday, Nov. 7, for the Special Electors and regular Town Board meetings.
They were there to discuss various issues, such as frac-sand mining, a new winery venture, a road dedication and the ongoing struggle with Midwest Natural Gas regarding the billing of fire calls.
The Town Board passed a resolution stating that utility companies, such as Midwest Natural Gas, St. Croix Gas, Xcel Energy and WE Energies, must pay all fire call bills the same as any citizens utilizing utilities.
They also agreed to allow MNG to expand its pipeline to serve residents of Kinnickinnic contingent on the board receiving a signed, written assurance of the revised resolution.
This resolution stems from an incident two years ago when a fire call was made for the energy station at 399 Hwy. 65 for a leaking gas valve.
MNG refused to pay for the fire call and it’s been an ongoing battle ever since to get the company to pay the bill and come to an agreement about any future bills.
In the past, whenever a gas company representative was scheduled to discuss the issue with the board, that person backed out. When someone would show up, it was a person with no authority to make decisions about paying for the fire call, Supervisor Bill Gnatzig said.
“Unfortunately there’s a trust issue with Midwest Gas,” Gnatzig said.
St. Croix County has agreed to call the gas companies immediately if a fire call for the energy station is ever placed again.
The bill will then be sent to WE Energies in Amery. WE Energies owns the gas valves at the station. Viking gas owns the gas going through the valves and Xcel, St. Croix Gas and MNG rent the valves from WE Energies.
Supervisor Mae Wolfe suggested calling WE Energies to make sure the resolution will be signed in a timely manner.
A moratorium lasting one year was passed concerning frac-sand mining.
The Town Board agreed to give the Planning Commission nine months to research and write a law concerning non-metallic mining expansion and creation.
The board will have three months after that to adopt the law. During this time no mining enterprises can start or expand.
Town Board Chairman Roger Van Beek told Fogerty that frac-sand mining will probably not be prohibited, but it will be regulated and that the board needs time to wade through facts and adopt a law.
He also stated that if a law is drafted in less than a year’s time, then the moratorium will end. Van Beek made clear it’s important to protect the town’s roads and residents when it comes to any mining operations.
The board also decided to impose a per-day penalty for anyone or for any company that would disregard the moratorium and begin a frac-sand mining enterprise.
See the full story in next week’s Journal.