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Landowners beware: Sand prospectors’ track record is nonexistent

My neighbors and I in the Towns of Lucas and Stanton have been visited by some friendly Texans who want to open a sand mine, conveyor system, and wash plant here in the Knapp hills. The Texans left me with business cards and a lease agreement that would allow excavating, blasting, road and building construction, and unlimited use of ground and surface water. They indicated that a favorable 40-acre tract might yield millions of dollars in lease and tonnage fees.

I wanted to learn about the track record and financial stability of their company, Glacier Sands LLC, so I investigated.  This is what I found:

• The local address listed on the business cards is a UPS store in Chippewa Falls.  The company apparently has a drop box there.

• The Wayzata, Minn. address listed on the lease as Glacier Sands’ corporate address is a town home owned by a Minnesota realtor.

• Glacier Sands LLC (Limited Liability Company) has no track record. It was just organized in August 2011, according to the state website. No annual report is on file, nor can a citizen retrieve information about partners, owners, or assets from the state website.

• The nice gentlemen who approached me are associated with a large silica processing facility in Texas, a real estate subdivision, and other operations.

Friends and neighbors, please be cautious before signing any lease with a sand prospector. The corporate structure described above seems designed expressly to, well, limit liability of the company.

If natural gas prices plummet, rail fees rise, insurance rates go up, or anything else threatens their profits, they could walk away from these Wisconsin operations with their assets in Texas untouched, leaving us landowners facing a bankrupt LLC and an environmental mess.

We who live in the Knapp hills love and depend on this region’s fertile farm fields, clear waters, and productive woodlots. We need time to think before jumping on the tempting offers of Texans.

We need a local mining moratorium that will allow us to gather information, plan wisely — and consider the future we want for our land.

Posted in Letters on Sunday, November 27, 2011 12:00 am Updated: 12:33 pm.

Read more: http://chippewa.com/dunnconnect/news/opinion/letters/article_1f1ae27c-1605-11e1-8404-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz21PyUWSqc