After surveying residents in the bucolic Goodhue County community, Hay Creek Township voted to adopt its own interim ordinance on frac sand mining earlier this month, Red Wing Republican Eagle staff writer Regan Carstensen reports in Doubling up on moratoriums.
That's doubling down.
Although the Goodhue County board extended its own moratorium for another year, area residents aren't leaving their fate to the uncertain judgment of the board, Carstensen reports:
Having two in place at once may seem redundant, but Hay Creek Town Board Chair Arlen Diercks said he thinks some people don’t have a lot of trust in the county commissioners.
“The bottom line is just because they passed this doesn’t mean they’re going to keep it on for a year anyway,” Diercks said. “You just don’t know.”
Board Supervisor Keith Fossen made the motion for a moratorium, “because of inconsistency that a lot of us township folks thought we heard at the commissioner’s meeting. They didn’t seem to all be on the same page,” Fossen said. His motion was seconded by Supervisor Randy Vieth.
Diercks said he would have rather waited before passing a moratorium, but he opened up the meeting for comment from citizens and quickly saw what his constituents wanted.
“The public comment was unanimous — please do a moratorium right away,” Fossen said.
In addition to the public comment taken at its board meeting, township officials had survey results from every resident in the township:
“We surveyed every resident of Hay Creek and they told us the 10 top things that they wanted us to address,” explained Fossen, who is the chair of the Planning Commission.
When surveys returned, results showed that residents were primarily concerned about the overall size of silica sand mines, maintaining agricultural land and keeping Hay Creek’s environment and rural perspective the same as it is today.
“We took those top three and that’s what we’re going to focus on in our comprehensive plan,” Fossen said.
Read the whole thing. As an earlier post, Frac sand mining opponents demand transparency from company representative demonstrates, rural anti-mining activists are raising questions about transparency in the frac sand mining industry.
Hay Creek Township's action echoes the determination of rural citizens to manage the sand rush on their own terms.
Photo: Aerial view of Hay Creek Township, photo by Jim Tittle.