Superior Silica will change North Branch forever

To the editor

I attended the North Branch City Council work session this evening, where Superior Silica Sands made a presentation to the Council on their proposed operation in North Branch on the ESSBY land. Superior plans on transporting frac sand from their facility in Barron, Wis. to North Branch to be loaded onto rail cars that will then transport the sand to North Dakota. The reason they are so interested in this location is that they want to utilize the BNSF railway, as they already have access to all the other major railway systems.

They want to begin construction of their facility around August 1, 2014, in order to begin operations October 1, 2014.

In Phase I, they estimate they would be loading 20-25 rail cars per day, by way of 100-110 truckloads (or 1 million tons per year) of sand per day, using two transloaders and operating 7 days per week from 6 a.m. – 10 p.m.  There would be 150 rail cars on the property.

In Phase II, they would be loading 50 rail cars per day, by way of 200 truckloads of sand per day (over 1 million tons per year), and would have five transloaders and five silos. There would be 400 rail cars on the property.

The City will be having a public information session and hearings in relation to this proposal. I’m urging all North Branch residents to pay attention to this issue. If you have concerns about air quality, noise, and truck traffic, you should attend the meetings. The truck traffic alone will have a huge effect on our town. Superior is opening another mine in Wisconsin that has 40-50 years’ worth of sand. There is potential for this company to change the face of North Branch for decades.

Judi Fitcha

North Branch, MN

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