How many hours of the day, days of the week, and months of the year are Osceola’s tax-paying residents entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their homes and property? Osceola limits construction projects within the village to “normal daylight hours,” i.e., 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., which is standard practice for any municipality. Why would a open-pit mine be permitted to operate heavy, noisy machinery at any time, let alone both before and after these statutory limits?

Any reasonable person would agree, if there’s a proper place to locate an open-pit mine, it is not less than a half mile from the center of Osceola’s historic business district, and adjacent to over 20 existing residences, a retirement home, and a hospital. No other mine in the states of Wisconsin or Minnesota is located so close to so many residences, and for good reason. The risks to local drinking water from mining in and below the water table, the migrant silica dust, the constant vibrations from the digging, crushing, blasting, and heavy truck traffic, are unacceptable in a residential neighborhood. The mine is simply out-of-place.

The Rybak gravel pit should never have been allowed so close to the center of Osceola Village. The homes on Ridge Road were there for decades before the Rybak mine was sold to North 40 just last year. 

North 40 Resources seeks to dig below the water table, which the Rybak owners never did, and to expand to 280 acres, removing an “overburden” of fertile farmland soil, to create an enormous mining operation similar in scale to the Aggregate Industries mine across the river, bringing at least 100 trucks per day to the roads of Polk County. 

The Rybak mine was a mistake. A vastly larger open-pit mine located so close to the village center, and just a few hundred yards from, and draining into, the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, would be a tragedy. 

Stop this mine before it’s too late. It provides no material benefit to the citizens of Osceola and Farmington, and it promises many costs. It is not the responsibility of the boards of Osceola Village and Farmington to ensure the owners of North 40 Resources LLC have a profitable business. It is their responsibility to protect the interests of their citizens.

Please contact the Osceola Village Trustees at: https://www.vil.osceola.wi.us/electedofficials and tell them to stop the expansion of the North 40 mine.  

Eric Utne

Formerly of Osceola Township

Now of St. Paul MN

 

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.