Two frac sand mining items caught our eye. The Tomah Journal reports in Ho-Chunk lobbying against mining:
The Ho-Chunk Nation has taken a formal stance against mining and is urging its leaders to lobby government officials against its development.
The Nation’s Legislature last December adopted a resolution by a 11-0 vote to oppose the development of frac sand and other mining operations on or near Nation lands.
“The Nation has not been at the forefront of environmental issues, but I definitely believe the silence has been broken on our feelings on the threats to natural resources and waterways,” said Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer.
“Ultimately, we have to understand we have a role in helping protect our grandmother — Mother Earth. Ultimately, this isn’t science versus science. This is a very common-sense opposition to threats to our natural resources.”
Greendeer said the influx of proposed and operational frac sand mines in Jackson County and the entire Western Wisconsin region over the past two years was in part the reason for adopting a resolution. . . .
The Ho-Chunk Nation (Winnebago) has its headquarters in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Read the entire story at the Tomah Journal.
In other news, Minnesota Public Radio's Stephanie Hemphill reports in Silica sand mine study requested by state agencies:Two state agencies are calling for a broader and more detailed environmental study on two proposed silica sand mines in Winona County.
The recommendation comes as some legislators are considering the possibility of a statewide study of the potential environmental and health effects of the booming industry.
Two Winona County landowners are applying for permits to mine silica sand. While silica sand is used in many industrial applications, demand has recently skyrocketed because it is essential in the process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," that produces oil and gas.
Both of the proposed mines would be operated by Minnesota Sand, a company closely related to several other firms that are planning other mines and a processing facility in the area. The Winona County Board is expected to decide in early March whether to require further study.
That proliferation of mines raises a red flag for both the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health. Both agencies told Winona County's planning and environmental services department that they think the county's brief environmental review, called an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, or EAW, is not enough to fully assess possible impacts.
MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine said the mines, together with the processing facility, are connected actions that automatically require a bigger study, called an Environmental Impact Statement. . . .
Listen to all of Hemphill's piece:
Read both letters in MPCA & MDH recommend EIS for Yoder & Dabelstein frac sand mines in Winona Co.
Photos: Jon Greendeer (left, top photo); protestors in Winona (bottom).
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