Brett Boese has doggedly followed frac sand mining issues in southeastern Minnesota for the Rochester Post Bulletin. Today, he turns in another excellent dispatch, Olmsted County officials dig into silica sand issue.
From the sounds of the report, a trio of Olmsted County commissioners were given a real sand wash by a mining company, but mostly retained their critical reasoning facilities.
Boese reports the company sees Minnesotans' reaction to industrial frac sand mining as "extreme":
Nearby residents have reported some complaints since the large operation opened last August, according to Preferred Sands Regional Manager Todd Murchison. However, he said the outcry west of the Mississippi River has been extreme, even without any new mines being permitted.
But give a tour, and supposedly, misgivings vanish.
Not so fast, the commissioners tell the paper:
Bier was impressed by the "high tech" nature of the Preferred Sands site, though Podulke said further research is required before any decisions are made.
"I can't imagine anything of this scale in Olmsted County," she said. "Whether it makes environmental and economic sense is something we still have to talk about."
Photo: A big honking pile of frac sand at one of Preferred Sands' operations in Nebraska. via the Columbus Telegram.