The Rochester Post Bulletin will hold a community discussion about silica sand mining tomorrow night, it reports in P-B Dialogues digs into sand mining:
On Tuesday, the Post-Bulletin Dialogues community meeting will explore the issue and bring together people from around the area who have questions and answers, led by Managing Editor Jay Furst. The free, informal discussion is from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rochester Public Library, which co-sponsors the Dialogues series.
More details at the paper. One point Bluestem will take issue with: a statement that silica sand mining has been going on elsewhere in the area with little protest.
That's true in some cases. Back in July, the Post Bulletin reported in Silica sand mine in Fillmore stirs no controversy that one small, 18-acre mine in Fillmore County was considered a good actor by the county planning and zoning administrator. He told the paper that the operator wasn't selling the black dirt stripped away to mine the sand and this practice will allow the mine operator to reclaim the pit more easily when it is played out.
Cross the Mississippi River, and you'll find the Concerned Citizens of Chippewa, who have been organizing around a sand plant in their town. Jim Tittle's site features discussions with people living near other mines in Wisconsin.
And in LeSueur County? There was a three-year fight over the Kasota Prairie before Unminn was forced to settle for a number of conditions in order to mine. And over in Ottawa, plans by the same company caused the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota to place historic buildings on its 10 most endangered properties of 1998:
Stone buildings of Ottawa Township, Ottawa Township, Le Sueur County
Built during the 1850s to 1870s, seven native limestone buildings - houses, churches and a town hall - form a charming remnant of a Minnesota River village that was once a center of stone quarrying. Their future may not be so charming: They stand on land that is a prime target for an advancing silica sand mining operation. (Linda Mack, "10 endangered properties for '98; The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota lists structures threatened by storms, demolition or neglect," Star Tribune, May 10, 1998, via Nexis All News, accessed August 29, 2011)
Despite this caveat, Bluestem encourages readers in Southeastern Minnesota to attend. The PB's Brett Boese has done some superlative coverage of the issue in Goodhue County and Furst has a style all his own.
Photo: Aerial view of Hay Creek Township site in Goodhue County.