A Republican bill that would exempt existing frack sand mines in Wisconsin from new regulations received a cool reception from minority Democrats on the Legislature's mining committees Monday.
Republican Sen. Tom Tiffany's measure would prohibit local governments from imposing new zoning ordinances or any other new ordinance on existing operations.
The Assembly and Senate mining committees held a joint hearing on the bill Monday. The panels' Democrats complained the bill would prohibit local governments from regulating new mining technology and imposing new health regulations if studies show the mines contribute to lung disease.
Tiffany told the Democrats other state laws would prevent environmental damage and there's no evidence frack sand mines cause lung disease. He also insisted the bill is designed to prevent local officials from driving existing operations out of business.
A number of the state's frack sand miones are located in Buffalo and Trempealeau Counties.