With the February 19 hearing on industrial frac sand mining in the Senate’s Environment and Energy Committee coming up, the editorial board of the largest circulation daily in Southeastern Minnesota is calling for a state-level Generic Environmental Impact Study of the sand mining industry.
In Our View: State must take lead on frac sand study, the board writes:
Like sands through the hourglass, the clock is ticking inevitably toward a full-scale, state-ordered study into the effects of frac-sand mining upon Minnesota's roads, groundwater, landscape, air quality and the health of those who live near the mines or along transportation routes. That's our conclusion after the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health each sent letters to the Winona County Board requesting the county order a full Environmental Impact Statement concerning two proposed frac-sand mines. . . .
. . .The Legislature is scheduled to begin holding hearings related to frac sand on Feb. 19, and it's possible that, by the session's end, the state will have ordered a Generic Environmental Impact Statement on frac-sand mining.
That would be the wisest course of action. Granted, such an order would tap the brakes on frac-sand mining in Minnesota for a year or two, but the alternative is likely to be an endless series of localized legal battles about individual mines.. . . A General Environmental Impact Statement on frac-sand mining will fill in a lot of the knowledge gaps for cities, counties and townships, thus, allowing them to make fully informed decisions that — we hope — will protect our environment while allowing the safe extraction and transport of this valuable resource.
Read the whole thing at the Post Bulletin.
Southeastern Minnesota residents concerned about this issue should consider attending the hearing. Land Stewardship Project is sending two buses to the state capitol, one picking up people along a Winona-Wabasha-Red Wing routs, while the other will transport concerned citizens from the St.Charles-Rochester area.
Here are the details from Get on the Bus! Travel to the State Capitol for the Feb. 19 Senate Hearing on the Frac Sand Issue:
We need to fill two buses on Feb. 19 to show Minnesota legislators we want meaningful action on the frac sand issue. The first Minnesota legislative hearing on the frac sand issue is happening Tuesday, Feb. 19, beginning at noon, in the Senate Environment and Policy Committee, and we need a full house.
LSP plans a press conference that day at 11 a.m. in Room 125 of the State Capitol and the hearing is in Room 107 of the State Capitol at noon. If you want information on testifying, contact Bobby King at 612-722-6377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations toward the cost of the buses are welcome but not required. Please pack a lunch, as no meal stops are planned.
• Bus 1: Houston – Winona – Wabasha – Red Wing bus. Contact Donna Buckbee of Houston County Protectors (507-864-2632 or email@example.com) to reserve your seat; this bus seats 55 people.
- 7:15 a.m. leave Houston from Barista's Coffee House. (Barista's will open early that day at 6:30 a.m.)
- 7:45 a.m. in Winona at the JC Penney parking lot (Hwy. 61 and Pelzer St.)
- 8:45 a.m. in Wabasha — City of Wabasha overflow parking lot across from Supervalu.
- 9:45 a.m. in Red Wing — Target Store parking lot just off Tyler Road on the north side of town.
- 10:40 a.m. Arrive at the Capitol.
- 3 p.m. Start the return trip.
• Bus 2: St. Charles – Rochester bus. Contact Johanna Rupprecht at LSP (507-523-3366 or firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve your seat; this bus seats 42 people.
- 8:15 a.m. leave St. Charles from Amish Ovens (I-90 & Hwy 74 – park in the lower restaurant lot).
- 9 a.m. in Rochester at Walmart South (located on Hwy 63, just north of Hwy. 52 — park in the northwest section of the parking lot, by the retaining wall).
- 10:30 a.m. Arrive at the Capitol.
- 3 p.m. Start the return trip.
Hope to see you there.
Photo: A frac sand mining protest in Winona.
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