Today's Minnesota Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment hearing on Senator Matt Schmit's SF786 looks to be a reprise in citizen attendance--though not testimony--of last week's joint hearing on frac sand mining in Minnesota.
MPR reports that the committee will vote on the bill, which has drawn criticism from the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) for failing to include a statewide moratorium on new silica sand mining, as well as the establishment of a silica sand mining board that might incentivize new projects. LSP has organized bus transportation for Southeastern Minnesota grassroots frac sand mining activists, who are well-organized in their counties and communities.
The mining industry and the powerful 49ers Local of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOP), on the other hand, oppose new rules in the bill, as well as language enabling a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), having testified that the industry is heavily regulated as it is.
The editorial board of the Mankato Free Press--publishing in the hometown of co-sponsor Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato)--has come out in favor of the strategy embodied in the bill in today's editorial: Review sand mining regulations.
Watch the committee action on The Uptake's Senate Channel at noon.
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