6/11/2014 11:19:00 AM Stanley rail transload proposal pulled after residents oppose
A re-zoning request to allow for a rail transloading site near Cameron has been withdrawn after receiving opposition from the Town of Stanley planning commission and dozens of residents at a meeting Thursday, June 5. Dwain Trowbridge, a New Auburn area native and owner of nine Bridge Stop gas stations, requested the re-zoning of 33.6 acres just east of Cameron and west of 21-1/2 Street on the Canadian National railroad so a transloading site for liquid propane, fertilizer, frac sand and other minerals could be constructed. More than 70 citizens attended the meeting, some watching through windows after the small town hall reached capacity. None vocally supported Trowbridge's proposal. The commission's vote against the re-zoning was an unanimous 5-0. "I have nothing against the silica itself; I am against the location," said commission member Jim Hessel. Fellow commission member Arlen Mortensen quoted from the town's comprehensive plan: "The town will be a peaceful place to live, with clean, safe neighborhoods, well-maintained properties and friendly neighbors." Many in attendance expressed concern that such attributes would be lost with the addition of a 500-rail car, multi-spur transload facility. Some said they did not want an additional 100 or more trucks per day on Hwy. 8. Others said they didn't want property values to drop. Quality of life and health risks, particularly due to silica dust, were are also major concerns. By the end of the hour-long meeting, Trowbridge seemed to have all but given up, especially after learning of the town's nonmetallic mining ordinance. "I didn't realize there was an ordinance," he said. The ordinance limits operations to 14 hours per day, requires installation of air monitors, sets noise limits at 60 decibels at property boundaries and mandates a 1-mile buffer from schools and medical facilities-which the Trowbridge proposal would violate.
Companies seek access Trowbridge said his project was backed in partnerships with wholesale fuel distributors US Oil and Heartland Fuels. He said he believes a local transload facility for LP could help prevent prices from skyrocketing as they did last winter. He said the frac sand side of the operation would be loading dried sand directly into rail cars, meaning there would not be piles or a processing plant. Chieftain Sand & Proppant, Chippewa Sand Company and Great Northern Sand Company want the capability to ship sand on CN rail, said Trowbridge. The companies currently have access to just the Union Pacific railroad, served by Progressive Rail. The UP is not routed to the eastern United States and Bakken Shale to the west where frac sand use is high for hydraulic fracturing. "They're going to find a place to put it on the CN," said Trowbridge, adding that if his plan isn't approved the site could be somewhere else nearby. Trowbridge's proposal was on land owned by Scott Krug and he said he was also interested in adjacent land owned by Rick and Carol Hanson. He denied accusations that he wanted to buy the property on behalf of the sand companies or in order to re-sell to them. "I'm not buying for them. I'm buying for myself because I saw an opportunity," said Trowbridge. Had he not withdrawn his proposal the Town of Stanley Board would make a recommendation to the Barron County Board, which has ultimate say in re-zoning matters. - - -