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Poll shows majority of Minnesotans oppose increased frac sand mining & favor two-year moratorium for SE MN Earth Day frac sand event at the State Capitol

Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in All State of Minnesota

WINONA, Minn. - Over half of Minnesota voters oppose increased frac sand mining in the state, and 64 percent support a two-year moratorium in the karst areas of southeastern Minnesota while potential environmental impacts are more fully assessed and state regulations are developed, according to a new poll released today. The statewide telephone survey was conducted February 4-6 by the bipartisan public opinion team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies.

These results come the day before the Land Stewardship Project is set to deliver over 6,000 petition signatures to Governor Mark Dayton calling for a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining in southeast Minnesota and the creation of tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality. The petition drive was launched January 18 in Winona and includes signatures from across the state. Marilyn Frauenkron Bayer lives on her family’s century farm in Houston County and has been working since January to collect signatures on the petition.

“This poll shows that Minnesotans strongly support the goals of this petition,” said Bayer. “Minnesotans realize that the harm of frac sand mining to the environment, farmland and our local economy far outweigh any so-called benefits. They also recognize the fact that a moratorium in southeastern Minnesota makes sense.”

Southeastern Minnesota residents traveled by bus to the Capitol in St. Paul on Earth Day, April 22, for a noon press conference and delivery of the petitions to the Governor.

Gov. Dayton has the authority to enact a regional moratorium through the use of the Critical Areas Act. John Wells, who served as strategic planning director for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board for 25 years, has described in a two-page memo how this executive power can be used and why the unique threat posed by frac sand mining in the fragile karst geology of southeast Minnesota warrants using it. The Land Stewardship Project presented the memo to the Governor at a December meeting in Winona. Gov. Dayton has said he favors keeping frac sand mining out of southeastern Minnesota.

Lynn Schoen, a member of the Wabasha, Minn. City Council, believes using the Critical Areas Act power is imperative to protecting her community and the wider region.

“I think Governor Dayton has laid out a policy which makes a lot of sense. He has said he favors keeping frac sand mining out of the fragile karst area of southeast Minnesota and tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality,” Schoen said. “This petition supports that policy and urges the Governor to take action to get us there.”

The “Public Support for Frac Sand Mining in Minnesota” poll included telephone interviews with 667 voters in Minnesota. The sample included 600 voters statewide and an oversample of 167 voters in six southeastern counties: Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Olmsted, Wabasha and Winona. All data have been weighted to reflect the true geographic distribution of voters across the state. The margin of sampling error is + or – 4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level for the statewide sample, and + or – 6.9 percent for the southeastern Minnesota counties.

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