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Fracking sand mine

In this Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011 photo, frac sand destined for the oil and gas fields piles up at the EOG Resources Inc. processing plant in Chippewa Falls.

A Chippewa County judge has dismissed a 2017 lawsuit brought by a Bloomer couple against two sand mine companies.

William E. and Lucretia C. Waldbuesser of 230th Avenue in Bloomer sued two mines over an agreement that is designed to help landowners near mines keep more property value.

The defendants are Preferred Sands of Minnesota LLC of Pennsylvania and DRT Sands LLC of Bloomer.

The Waldbuessers sued the two companies after both sand mines made agreements with the town of Auburn in 2015.

The Waldbuessers said on March 4, 2015, they would sell land covered under a property value guarantee. That guarantee applies to property within three-eighths of a mile of a mine site or certain roadways used to haul material from the mine.

Their property fell under that guarantee, the Waldbuessers said in the lawsuit.

On March 23, Preferred Sands said the land the Waldbuessers wanted to sell was not covered by the agreement, and declined to buy the land.

Preferred Sands ended its agreement with the town of Auburn in January 2016.

DRT Sands agreed to pay for an appraisal of the Waldbuesser’s land after the couple told them of their intent to sell the property, according to the lawsuit.

The property did not sell for 150 days, the couple said.

The couple then asked DRT to buy the land under the terms of the mining agreement, according to the lawsuit.

DRT Sands refused, saying that unless Preferred Sands became bankrupt, DRT Sands had no obligation to buy the land.

In the lawsuit, the couple asked for a declaration of their rights under agreements with both sand mines, court costs, expenses and attorney’s fees.

Chippewa County Judge Steven Gibbs dismissed the suit in a decision filed Thursday.

Although their land is covered by the Preferred Sands property value guarantee, the Waldbuessers did not divide the specific land parcel they wanted to sell according to county ordinance, voiding the guarantee on that specific parcel, Gibbs wrote.

The other mine, DRT Sands, is also not required to buy the Waldbuessers’ property.

DRT Sands’ mining agreement did not cover properties that already fell under Preferred Sands’ agreement unless Preferred Sands went bankrupt, Gibbs wrote in his decision.

“There is no dispute that Preferred (Sands) is still a going business and is not bankrupt,” Gibbs wrote in his decision. “Therefore, the court finds that … the DRT agreement is not in effect.”

As of the filing of the lawsuit on June 1, 2017, the couples’ property was still for sale, according to the lawsuit.

Sarah Seifert can be reached at sarah.seifert@lee.net or follow her on Twitter @sxseifert.

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Chippewa Herald reporter

Sarah Seifert reports for the Chippewa Herald. Contact her with tips or story ideas at 715-738-1608 or at sarah.seifert@lee.net.

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