TOWN OF COOKS VALLEY
SPECIAL TOWN BOARD MEETING
The Special Town Board meeting of the Town of Cooks Valley was called to order on December 20, 2011 at the Cooks Valley town hall located at 15784 40th Street at 8:00 pm by Chairman Darrel Fehr. Supervisors present were David Clements and John Sykora. Other town officials present were Judith Prince-treasurer and Victoria Trinko-clerk. See attached list for delegation present.
Public Comment: Mark Berge remarked that in the Dec. 18, 2011 minutes, it was mentioned that Dennis Schindler should be able to do what he wants with his land. However, Mark Berge felt the rights of other residents and the need for stewardship of the land needs to be considered and he would be in favor of zoning to insure stewardship of the land. He related information from articles concerning EOG and the breaching of retention ponds in frack mining that has led to contamination and pollution of surface water and wells and is concerned that that is what we have to look forward to.
Gene Pagel asked if the board would consider a moratorium as he feels the mining operations are going too fast and we are setting precedence for future negotiations.
Beth Pagel commented that our air and water is pristine, this is a rural community and quiet, all valid good reasons why people have chosen to live in Cooks Valley. We have to take care of the land and residents. She urged the town board to think of the people as a well has already gone bad on State Highway 64.
Jane Sonnentag questioned EOG personnel, “Are there previous reclamation plans that were successful and roads that were built by EOG and were good roads?” She was concerned that when the mining company leaves where is the evidence that the people left living here will have clean air to breathe and drinkable water. Who will take care of the problems that will be here and protect the people who have to deal with these problems?
John Behling, attorney for EOG, replied the EOG would like to prove they are good neighbors. The Town of Howard residents have changed their attitude toward the mining and feel EOG are good neighbors. He appreciates the comments made by the public and work being done with the board. EOG would like to come back in January and talk with the board about the concerns depicted in the memorandum and he is looking forward to working with us.
Rosemary Gehring asked what EOG is doing about air quality. EOG attorney, John Behling, informed the group that EOG has put in the first air monitor of a commercial entity and is not filing for a waver concerning air monitoring.
Mark Berge asked EOG about the pollution being done in Pennsylvania. What is EOG doing to correct the pollution in PA in the ponds? Tom Maul of EOG said he would check into it.
Heidi Freeberg asked, “Can you extract polyacrylamide from the treated sand?” Tom Maul said, “No, the polyacrylamide can not be extracted.” There has to be a high concentrate of the polyacrylamide to affect the water. A mixture of the treated sand will be mixed with the soil that was removed to get to the desired silica sand with a ratio of 15:1. Therefore, the chemical would be diluted reducing the concentrate in the soil.
Chairman Darrel Fehr asked if all the documents signed by EOG would be transferred to a new owner. A transfer of reclamation would involve the new owner to tell what they are going to do and could not change the agreement with the town. The town could not unreasonably withhold the permits. The new operator would have to deal with the town board and post a bond.
Jane Sonnentag asked if there was anyone she could contact about a successful reclamation plan and quality of road that EOG has constructed. Tom Maul said Tim Ramberg of St. Croix County said the road EOG constructed was of good quality. Tom Maul said he received an award from the Colorado Division of Mining and Safety for the reclamation site he supervised. Mark Berge agreed that Colorado had good reclamation sites.
EOG will be digging between five to fifteen feet above the water level on Dennis Schindler’s land and that is the lowest they will be going. Again the mixture for reclamation would be 15:1 of treated sand and other reclamation soil.
Mark Berge attended a meeting in Menomonie where they talked about air monitors that will monitor silica. The DNR will monitor and receive the monitor recordings from EOG.
David Clements felt that any problems that occur at the mine should not be at the expense of the citizens in terms of health, safety, and welfare. Any property relief tax relief should go to the board for all the meetings and Earl Hassemer for all the work he does on the website for free.
There was a discussion of a decrease in land value within a ½ mile to 2 miles of a mine site. There was an explanation that when the Town of Cooks Valley did the last reassessment, there were not enough comparable sales so the state used the Town of Wheaton as a comparison.
Sixty to eighty acres of land will be open at one time at Dennis Schindler’s mine site. Sprinklers and hoses will be used on the tope of the piles to control the dust.
It was noted that when core samples were taken this summer on properties, the people involved placed hoses in the creeks to help with the sampling rather than provide the water themselves.
Discussion and possible action on proposed right-of-way and maintenance agreement on 135th Avenue and 20th Street and the south end of 40th Street between EOG Resources Inc. and the Town of Cooks Valley:
Additional option from EOG for signing the road agreement- “EOG will not engage in transportation activities during peak traffic time. This is designed to keep truck traffic from interfering with school bus traffic. EOG will also agree not to haul on the six (6) nationally recognized Holidays. In the ordinary course of business, EOG will agree to only haul material five days a week. In the event of inclement weather or other unforeseeable circumstances (lost time), EOG will have the ability to work on Saturdays or Sundays. When lost time occurs which requires hauling on Saturdays and Sundays, EOG will notify the Chair and the Town Clerk prior to the commencement of lost time hauling.”
Clarification -John Sykora expressed concern about the local traffic being unaware of the truck traffic on a narrow road which in turn would raise safety issues and liability as a responsibility of the town.
Dan Fedderly explained if the town enters into an agreement and the road is not up to standard, the town is liable. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the town board to insure that the constructed road meets the standards for the type of traffic traveling on the road.
John Behling-In the event of an emergency, the town has the right to shut down the road.
There was clarification of the safety of the road and the steps to be taken to insure the integrity and safety of the road.
Gene Pagel asked why Section 16 of the agreement was included. This section was inserted to insure that any disputes about the agreement stay in the jurisdiction of Chippewa County.
Darrel Fehr made a motion to accept the Town Road Maintenance agreement and the Right-of-way permit on 135th Avenue and 20th Street and the south end of 40th Street between EOG Resources Inc. and the Town of cooks Valley. John Sykora seconded the motion. Roll call vote: David Clements-yes, Darrel Fehr-yes, John Sykora-yes.
Adjourn: Darrel Fehr made a motion to adjourn at 9:30 pm. David Clements seconded the motion. The motion carried 3-0.
Typed: December 23, 2011 Respectfully submitted
Approved: January 9, 2012 Victoria Trinko -Town Clerk