Allamakee County’s 18-month moratorium on silica sand mining expired and the county has now adopted new rules to regulate the process. Allamakee is one of three counties in the northeast corner of the state to have deposits of the sand that is used in a mining process known as fracking.
Even with the new rules, Zoning Administrator Tom Blake says it’s unlikely a mine will open any time soon. He says area residents are concerned about the possible environmental impacts of a mine. “You’re trying to balance the desires of your populous, and those people are here and they love the county and don’t want to see it changed,”Blake says.
Pattison Sand Company operates the only silica sand mine in Iowa just to the south in Clayton county. According to Darla Kelchen, the county’s economic development director, the expansion of the mining operation has created more than 200 jobs in the area.