The meeting was well attended and five of eight of those who spoke during public comment section were in opposition to the operation (the three who spoke for it includes Ken Lucht, spokesman for WSOR, Kyle Pattison, and a Pattison employee) and in favor of the resolution prompted by Ron Leys which stated that the Common Council was opposed to the loading operation where it was and asked that it be moved. In CSP’s comments, Forest thanked the council for entertaining the resolution, but urged further action, stressing that the Surface Transportation Board must be asked to make an official ruling as to whether preemption applies or not.
When the resolution came up, Ron Leys presented the resolution in a rather defeatist fashion and from then on, it was all downhill. Several council members voiced their opinions that the resolution was a political stunt and not really an answer and did not fix the issue, so they opposed it. The end vote was 6 against and 4 for the resolution (Leys, Thein, Hayes-Hall [new guy], and Fleshner).
City Administrator Aaron Kramer briefly described the rather slapdash air sampling that the city had undertaken for a day (two houses on Overview Ct, one on S Beaumont, and a couple samples from the operation itself). Air monitors were mentioned, but deemed too expensive to buy. Aaron said he would ask Pattison if he was willing to set up monitors on his own dime, but didn’t give much hope that that would happen. CSP Staff will check up with the lab doing the analysis and see what they have to say about the sampling process, the results, and what that will mean, rather than having Aaron Kramer interpret what they said to us.
Since the meeting, staff has been rooting around for permits and ownership and preemption clarifications from the WiDOT and WDNR. On a tip from a supporter, we discovered that the WSOR has declared preemption (the first this has been officially declared, not just threatened) to the WDNR, saying, essentially, that though the permits to build were not issued yet, they were going to go ahead and start because they didn’t feel like they even really needed the permits. The DNR seems more upset about this than the city, and we have heard that they are even considering an injunction.
We also learned in an e-mail from Aaron Kramer that Pattison received another NON on June 12 for not keeping track of (or likely doing) visual emissions checks at the loading site from Myron Smith, the new air compliance guy out of LaCrosse.