1. Does NR 135 address my concerns about noise, blasting, and traffic?
No. Chapter NR 135 deals only with the reclamation of mines. Concerns related to the siting of mines and compatibility with nearby land uses need to be addressed through the zoning process. Concerns regarding operations including hours of operation, blasting, noise and so forth are addressed in zoning and other ordinances. Citizens should contact local officials to address these concerns.
2. Does this program affect the siting and permitting of proposed new mines?
No. NR 135 creates a reclamation program focused on final site reclamation and environmental protection and has no affect on siting decisions. Since it is not a zoning rule there is no effect on local zoning decisions. The decision on locating a nonmetallic mine will continue to be based on the physical presence of a deposit, market demands, and restrictions that are placed on these activities through the zoning process.
3. Does this reclamation rule cause the reclamation of already abandoned mine sites in Wisconsin?
No. There is no requirement nor any funding to reclaim the previously abandoned sites. However, this does not mean that the rule will not have an effect in this area. Now that the uniform reclamation standards are in effect through county ordinances, there should be no additional abandoned unreclaimed sites. Those sites that are operating in long-term locations or that reopen in the future may chose to reclaim past mined-out areas in order to fit in with the land use that is approved in the reclamation plan. Once people see the results, it may create incentive to voluntarily convert past abandoned sites into productive land uses.