Updated: 10/17/2013 9:27 PM
Created: 10/17/2013 5:52 PM WDIO.com
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Wisconsin legislator has proposed a bill that would scale back local governments' ability to regulate sand mines and blasting.
Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany's bill would ensure local governments can't regulate sand mines using their so-called police powers - their ability to regulate health, safety and welfare. They could still regulate the mines through zoning ordinances, however.
Reached by phone Thursday, Tiffany said the legislation relates to sand mining in Wisconsin, but the issue is much broader than one industry. Tiffany said the bill would insure local governments use their land and road use authority properly.
The measure also would prohibit locals from regulating blasting activities.
Sen. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) expressed vehement opposition to the bill, saying it was written by mining companies and attempts to overrule a unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of such laws.
"The legislation puts a stranglehold on elected officials in small communities as they try to responsibly regulate the fast growing frac sand industry," Jauch said in a press release. "Apparently, the authors believe that the mining companies know better than locally elected officials what is good for the citizens of the area."
The bill comes as Ashland County officials consider an ordinance controlling blasting work on a proposed iron mine.
Tiffany is looking for co-sponsors to sign onto the bill by Monday. Tiffany said he hoped to have a hearing on the legislation next week.
The Sierra Club's Wisconsin chapter is criticizing the bill as an assault on local control. A message left with the Wisconsin Counties Association wasn't immediately returned.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Pride Parade is Twin Ports' Biggest Yet
As hundreds gathered to watch the Duluth Superior Pride Festival's annual parade Sunday, many of those marching said it was moving to see such a wide base of support.
1 Injured in Crow Wing County Crash
A Brainerd man was injured when he lost control of his car and crashed on Highway 210 near Riverton Sunday. The Minnesota State Patrol said the accident happened just after 10 a.m. The man suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Storms Light Up Skies Over Lake Superior
Storms moving across Lake Superior lit up the skies in Duluth on Sunday. WDIO Photographer Jamie Merideth captured the sight from West Skyline Parkway around 8:40 p.m.
Minnesota State Fair Sets All-Time Attendance Record Saturday
The Minnesota State Fair experienced a record-breaking day on Saturday. Fair officials said 252,092 people attended, breaking the all-time record for the highest attended single day in the fair's history. As of Saturday, people visited the fairgrounds nearly 1.5 million times this year.
St. Paul Police Defend Officers in Stun-Gun Video
The St. Paul police union is defending three officers caught on camera using a stun gun on a man who was sitting in a downtown skyway. The man said he did nothing wrong. Police say he refused "numerous lawful orders for an extended period of time."