The Institute for Wisconsin’s Health Inc. conducted an HIA to inform county, municipal, township, and tribal policy decisions related to existing and potential industrial sand facilities in western Wisconsin. Although the HIA aimed to provide guidance for upcoming decisions by the Ho-Chunk Nation (a tribe), Trempealeau County, Pierce County, and three townships in Eau Claire County, predicted impacts and recommendations would also apply throughout western Wisconsin.
The HIA examined the potential of sand mining operations to affect the risk of exposure among area residents to airborne silica, water quality and quantity, quality of life, and health as it relates to changes in land reclamation and value. The evidence-based recommendations to minimize risks and maximize benefits for health included developing industry standards to promote better and more informed review, policy, and project development and engaging local, tribal, and regional partners in permitting and review processes.
In April 2016, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Health won the Wisconsin Public Health Association’s 2016 Excellence in Public Health Research Award for its HIA. The purpose of the award is to “acknowledge outstanding scientific investigations that are based on sound public health science and have contributed to, or have the potential to contribute to, a change in public health practice, policy, science or technology.” The institute was nominated by the many county partners they involved throughout the HIA process.