Frac sand fight in Wood County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Frac sand fight in Wood County


A frac sand agreement has been set in Wood County despite opposition from Marshfield city officials.

The agreement requires the three frac sand companies in Marshfield to pay a fee in order to keep transporting sand on county roads. The agreement has to be signed by Saturday or those companies can't use the roads anymore for that purpose.

Doug Passineau, Wood County highway commissioner, says the trucks hauling frac sand can cause serious damage to the roads.

"It's not necessarily the weight of the truck, but the frequency of loads that are being hauled," said Passineau.

But Marshfield city leaders say those companies are being targeted unfairly.

"We've spent a lot of money on our industrial park and some of our roadways for this industry. We've got a big investment at stake," said Steve Barg, Marshfield city administrator.

Fracking is a process to remove oil and gas from the earth. Frac sand is used to hold the sediment open to allow that to happen. The transportation of all that material is where the concern comes in.

"The roads were not built to withstand heavy hauling," said Passineau. He says the companies would be charged 15-40 cents per ton, per mile.

But the Marshfield city administrator says that only targets frac sand companies.

"They feel they're being hit way more than anyone else," said Barg. "Not equal, not fair to them."

There are three frac sand companies in Marshfield. So far, one of them has signed the agreement. The second is expected to sign. And the third, Carbo Ceramics, is trying to negotiate an agreement of its own.

"We've presented a fair agreement, which we think is fair, put that in front of Wood County," said Stephen Love, the company's director of operations. "We're waiting for our time to discuss it with them."

If it's not signed, county roads cannot be used.

"We want to keep the economy going, of course, and we don't want to stop everyone," said Passineau.

"We want to see them continue to develop business here in Marshfield," added Barg.

The two other companies either did not return our calls or did not want to comment.

Wood County leaders say this money will only be used to fix the roads damaged by these trucks. Anything left over will be returned.

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