Marathon County Board passes mining regulations

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- For the last 20 years there’s been a moratorium on metallic mining in Wisconsin.

On July 1, that moratorium will be lifted. With just three months to go, the Marathon County Board passed two proposals to make sure certain things, like the environment, are protected.

The first proposal that passed creates an ordinance that companies must follow if they want to mine in Marathon County. The focus is to minimize damage to the roads and the environment. It also makes sure that mining doesn’t happen too close to someone’s home.

Mining companies will be required to pay all fees to bring in experts to do environmental surveys and tests before there’s any mining.

"If we do not have it in place and an application were to come forward, from a mining company, it would be too late to enact something. That would be retroactive, so it's important that we have it in place as a starting point,” Marathon County Board Chairman Kurt Gibbs said.

The board also approved the creation of a metallic mining oversight committee that will make sure companies are following all federal, state and county guidelines.

For example, the committee will enforce designated hours of blasting and trucking. It will also make sure mines are far enough away from streams, lakes and flowages.

The committee will also be tasked with creating a groundwater trust fund to monitor and fix water quality, create a roadway trust fund in case mines cause any damage to nearby roads and make sure the companies are following all DNR regulations.