Cooperation agreements between mining companies and… who?

A local TV station (WQOW Eau Claire) just did a story about “cooperation” agreements that are being struck between Vista Sands and land owners.  The title is suggestive — “Property owner calls sand company proposal hush money.”  Here is a link to the whole story on their site:

And here is a link to the contract.  Let me know if this link goes away — I have a copy of the file.

Several interesting things.

  • The whistle-blower calls this “tax free” money.  I don’t think that’s right.
  • I wonder how many of the green-shirted enthusiasts for our local projects are under similar agreements.
  • These agreements are pretty crude.  My lawyers wouldn’t let me sign something like that — the agreement that is posted is really one-sided in favor of the mining company.
  • The confidentiality agreement part is forever.  So presumably a farmer (or any family member of the farmer, look out for that) who has a change of heart some time in the future can probably look forward to a claw-back lawsuit.
  • It takes a really long time to collect the money ($37,900 — what an odd dollar figure).  You have to wait for final approval, through all governmental approvals, in a way that is satisfactory to the company.  A long time, and probably never — since there’s that giant “satisfactory to the company” loophole in there.
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