The company that has purchased land in Goodhue County uses silica sand for "fracking," a controversial process used to extract natural gas from shale.
In More support for sand moratorium from Red Wing groups, the Eagle's Regan Carstensen reports:
The Red Wing Advisory Planning and Sustainability commissions each voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend that the Red Wing City Council support a moratorium preventing any silica sand mines from being established in Goodhue County for an entire year.
The two commissions, which normally meet separately, held a joint meeting solely to discuss the silica sand mine issue.
Citizen group Save the Bluffs previously brought the moratorium idea to the City Council, which decided to get input from the two commissions. . . .
Christensen digs into the scale of the potential mining:
While environmental and health problems are some of the public’s main concerns, so is the possibility of silica sand mines spreading throughout the county.
“It’s not just one mine that’s being looked at,” Egbert said, referring to the expected silica sand mine in Hay Creek Township. “There are also some test wells on some other properties. From the history in Wisconsin, if you have a transfer station — which is what’s proposed in Frontenac — you have multiple mines that feed into it.”
The Hay Creek Township mine would be 155 acres, but Egbert said citizens are worried mining would quickly become much more widespread.
“In Wisconsin there have been conditional-use permits that were applied for, and they’re expanding and their mines are getting quite large,” she said, adding that some have reached 500 acres.
At the Post Bullletin, Brett Boese reports in Will Red Wing support moratorium on silica sand mining? that while the Oklahoma-based energy company Windsor Permian hasn't formally requested a permit yet, it has written to county officials that it is drafting the paperwork for a permit. Boese also writes:
The 155-acre plot Windsor Permian purchased for $2.6 million is less than two miles south of Red Wing and, if a mine is created, a potential truck route would go through the edge of town and very near a nursing home, a technical school and the high school. The other 40 acres are north of Lake City and are believed to be tabbed for a transfer station for mining trucks.
Dust from silica sand is considered a carcinogen and has been linked to cancer and silicosis, a deadly disease.
The Eagle has published Letter: Yes, learn the facts about mining in response to another writer who criticized the calls for a moratorium, but hasn't been at any of the meetings.
Photo: An aerial view of the Hays Creek Township site.
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