I am writing to correct a number of inaccuracies in the September 15 article by M.B. Boberg regarding the North 40 mine.
First, the article states that the proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance is going to create a new district “that would be located in the same area as the existing mine, North 40 Resources, and is limited to about 80 acres.” This is inaccurate - the mine has acquired or leased about 200 acres that they intend to mine for many decades to come - this is a massive expansion, on the ridge right above downtown, that has the potential to put dozens of nearby wells at risk.
The article goes on to report on the ‘annual’ visit to the mine. This inspection may have violated the WI Open Meeting law, since more than one board member was present with a permit holder present. This behavior casts doubt on the “clean bill of health” reported for the mine. If there is nothing to hide, why the hiding?
The current permit for the mine allows activity in the groundwater until the mine expands into the new space in several years. Water in my well in an adjacent property to the mine recently tested at unhealthy levels of lead (33 µg/L).
The mine also has two very large catchment ponds that are likely in violation of the 2012 airport ordinance given their proximity to the airport. These would need a Conditional Use Permit to be legal - does the mine have one?
This is a lovely area with a great deal of tourist activity. We are the only community around with almost no vacant buildings. If the mine can coexist and not disrupt the community, they’re welcome here, but the recent behavior and planned expansion doesn’t seem in keeping with what kind of community Osceola wants to be.
Portola Valley, Calif.