116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — A Northeast Iowa mining company has ended its effort to get state permission to draw millions of gallons of water from Iowa's Jordan Aquifer to export to Western states.
Pattison Sand Company of Clayton notified officials at the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals it was requesting to dismiss its appeal of a state Department of Natural Resources decision that denied its permit application. State administrative law judge Joseph Ferrentino agreed to dismiss the appeal Sept. 23 after Iowa DNR attorneys did not object to the motion to dismiss.
The Clayton County-based silica sand-mining company last year had proposed drilling a new well near the Mississippi River, loading water into tank cars and selling it to an Oregon company called Water Train, which supplies drought-stricken communities in New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona, the permit application states.
Iowa DNR officials turned down the application on the grounds that it lacked information required by state law. Pattison appealed the agency’s contention that the application was incomplete. Iowa DNR officials, according to the agency, did not deny the company a permit but were unable to assess the application on its merits due to lack of information.
Pattison founder Kyle Pattison — who did not respond to request for comment Friday — told the Iowa DNR in a 2020 application the millions of gallons of water that would be drawn by the company and sent west wouldn't deplete Iowa's underground water supply because the aquifer at that point drains to the Mississippi River.
The company requested a waiver from a legal requirement that permit applications say how water extracted from underground aquifers would put to beneficial use. The state denied the waiver.
Wally Taylor of the Sierra Club of Iowa, which opposed the project, said the company had requested in Nov. 2020 that the appeal be suspended for a year before seeking the dismissal this fall.
Taylor said the Sierra Club was pleased with the outcome, adding “we don’t get many victories, but this was one.”
Taylor expressed concern that “the Jordan Aquifer is not being recharged as quickly as it should be anyway, so it was a real concern that Pattison would have been taking millions of gallons of water out of the aquifer,” which supplies drinking water to much of Iowa and other Midwest states.
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