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Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
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County requests state regulation of EIS


Fri, Mar 1st, 2013
Posted in All Government

The Fillmore County Board at the February 26 meeting, approved a letter to be sent to the Environmental Quality Board (EQB) requesting that the EQB designate a State agency to act as the regulatory government unit (RGU) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Minnesota Sands LLC projects.

Rick Frick, Minnesota Sands, notified the Fillmore County zoning office that they are voluntarily going to conduct an EIS. Minnesota Sands is the operator in the proposed development of four mines in Pilot Mound Township (Boyum, Dabelstein, Kesler, and Wadewitz sites) and also the Erickson site in Houston County and the Dabelstein and Yoder sites in Winona County.

Fillmore County takes the position, noting the sites are relatively close together and are in three counties to be developed by the same operator, that an EIS is appropriate. But, due to the involvement of three counties, “it is not the responsibility of one county to perform the task of conducting an EIS when several counties are involved.” The letter lists several reasons for the request including, “the State’s environmental experts would be less likely to be challenged regarding the scope and completeness of the final document.”

Commissioner Duane Bakke noted that the county ordinance on industrial mining allows for a total of five industrial mines in the county. That limit has been reached with the Rein Quarry in Holt Township and the four applications in Pilot Mound Township.

Bakke referred to a bill introduced on February 25 by Senator Matt Schmit (DFL-Red Wing). The first draft of the bill calls for a generic EIS which the state would have to pay for. Bakke said it would allow for a moratorium to be extended to March 2015. (An amendment was approved in the Senate committee later this day that would put a statewide moratorium in effect until March 1, 2014, for new frac sand mines.) An eighteen-member silica board was provided for which would have one representative from each southeast Minnesota county. The committee would be tasked with producing a model ordinance or minimum standard. It would also provide for a tax on a tonnage basis on frac sand, which would be placed in the state’s general fund to be used in part to repair damaged roads. Bakke added that a second bill is to be introduced in the House by Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL- South St. Paul).

Bakke said Fillmore County already has an ordinance that we like.

Other Business In Brief

•Diane Olson was promoted to Social Services Fiscal Officer effective March 1. Darrell Schmitt was reclassified to Engineering Technician Supervisor effective March 1.

•Saturday, March 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the Fillmore County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office will be open for passport processing, photos, birth certificates, and renewal applications. At the same time and place there will be absentee voting for the March 12 township election. Information at www.co.fillmore.mn.us Click on department, auditor/treasurer and passports.

•The telecommuting program was reviewed and continued with renewal of employee contracts. Three employees in Social Services participate as telecommuters. Social Services Manager Gail Bunge stated it is a valuable and effective program. There has not been turnover in staff which saves on training expenses.

•Zix email encryption with Solbrekk Business Technology Solutions was renewed at a cost of $1,833.00 for hosting services and $1,068.75 for licensing. The encryption service allows for safe emailing of sensitive information.

•A furniture quote from Beckley’s Office Products for $43,866.33 was approved as presented. Furniture for the newly remodeled Highway Administration Building will be a combination of new and previously used furniture put back into service.

•Approval was given for out of state travel to Illinois for Emergency Management/Jail Administrator Kevin Beck for 40 hours of training from Motorola to work on the MCC 7500 Counsel. The cost is to be fully reimbursed by the Regional Radio Board Grant. The training will involve an overview and function of the equipment.

•Bakke discussed the cost share as related to municipal projects and county roads. Currently, the county pays no portion of curb and gutter. He was proposing a 50-50 split. Chairman Randy Dahl said it could make the difference between some projects getting done and some not being done. Bakke said the discussion today was to get board members thinking about the policy that had been adopted in 2002. It was expected that a new policy draft could be brought back next week.

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