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Comprehensive Review of Minnesota Frac Sand Mining Requested

Tue, Sep 17th, 2013
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

No Permits to be Issued Until Analysis is Complete

John Michaelson

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Residents of southeast Minnesota are pushing for a comprehensive review of the possible impacts of what would be one of the largest frack sand mining operations in the state. A company known as Minnesota Sands is proposing at least 11 mines in Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties. The sand, mixed with water and chemicals, is pumped into rock deep underground in the process of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas drilling.

The proposed development has led dozens of residents to weigh in, and according to Johanna Rupprecht, policy organizer with the Land Stewardship Project, one of the big concerns is air quality.

"Both the crystal and silica dust that's generated from the frack sand mining process, also diesel exhaust from trucking, is another major concern," she said. "A lot of concern about water issues. Groundwater systems are already very fragile and the potential for industrial-scale mining could basically make that worse."

Those concerns, along with those on land value, transportation, the economy, and quality of life have been summarized in a new report from the Land Stewardship Project.

Rupprecht said they'll present the report on Wednesday to the Environmental Quality Board, which is the body in charge of carrying out the Environmental Impact Statement that's required before any permits are issued.

"They have not yet come out with any of their own draft documents on what they say should be studied, so we're just saying that people need to have a strong say on this from the beginning," Rupprecht remarked. "It's the local people who are going to be impacted who really need to have a say on what needs to be studied."

Governor Mark Dayton has said he supports a ban on frack sand mining and processing in southeast Minnesota, and is willing to try to pass such a ban through the Legislature.

More information is at: http://landstewardshipproject.org/posts/491

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