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Oneida County authorizes zoning director to approve mining exploration permit

Jennrich: No technical issues with application for drilling in Schoepke

April 28, 2020 by Richard Moore

The Oneida County zoning committee on Wednesday, April 22, unanimously authorized the county’s zoning director to approve a mineral exploration permit in the town of Schoepke.

Mineral exploration is a permitted activity in the general use zoning district in which the subject land is located. Badger Minerals is the company filing the application. 

The committee did not actually approve any permit, but gave zoning director Karl Jennrich the authority to do so if the application met the approval standards of the exploration ordinance and if no referral to the committee was requested by staff or a committee member.

There has been no such referral requested, and Jennrich did not raise any issues with approval standards at Wednesday’s meeting.

Before a permit is approved, the company must certify the exploration activities shall be designed, constructed, and operated in accordance with all applicable standards of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), including both statutory and administrative code standards.

In addition, the exploration activities as proposed, including reclamation, must not be incompatible with existing land uses. The committee must also establish notification and inspection procedures applicable to the various stages of drilling and abandonment and procedures for the proper abandonment of drill holes.

Finally, the applicant must certify the information contained in its application materials is true and correct.

Jennrich told the committee he did not find any technical issues with the application and that the DNR had issued a state license for the exploration permit.

Jennrich also acknowledged he had received significant public comment on the issue, and there was more during public comment at the dial-in meeting. However, Jennrich asserted most of the opposition related to actual mining of the site. 

The issue here was not mining but exploration, Jennrich said, and he again reminded everyone that exploration was a permitted activity.

In addition to giving Jennrich approval authority over the permit, the committee directed Jennrich to establish an inspection schedule for the drilling, and it approved a requirement that the company carry a $5 million insurance policy to cover all exploration activities and affording personal injury and property damage protection.

Richard Moore is the author of the forthcoming “Storyfinding: From the Journey to the Story” and can be reached at richardmoorebooks.com.

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