Earlier this year, Judge Mary Leahy ruled that the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) didn't have a right to intervene in the lawsuit against Winona County's frac sand ban.
That decision didn't foreshadow good news for the corporate interests, a ruling late Friday shows. Here's the LSP Statement on Court Ruling to Uphold the Winona County Frac Sand Ban:
On Nov. 17, Minnesota District Court Judge Mary Leahy dismissed with prejudice pro-frac sand interests’ claims in their attempt to undo the Winona County, Minn., frac sand ban. The judge ruled that the county acted fully within its authority in passing this ordinance to protect public health, safety and general welfare from industrial mining operations.
This ruling confirms that in passing the ban, the Winona County Board was acting precisely as government should. Elected officials listened to the will of the public, who called for this corporate exploitation to be prevented, and then acted decisively to protect the common good for both people and the land. The hills, bluffs, farms and waters of Winona County are safe from industrial frac sand mining, thanks to the bold leadership of the people who love them.
This lawsuit, brought by two of the largest law firms in Minnesota, was yet another corporate attack on democracy. But this victory is further proof that organized people acting on our values can prevail against corporate power, and can protect the land and our communities’ health, safety and quality of life from destruction for the sake of profits.
Dismissal with prejudice means that the case cannot be brought before a court again, although an appeal might be possible.
Counties' creation of ordinances related to silica sand mining was assisted by provisions in the 2013 Omnibus environment, natural resources, and agriculture finance and policy bill. The language originated in the Minnesota House with the introduction of HF906 in February by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-S. St. Paul; the bill gained bipartisan support in the House in March; the partisan senate companion was introduced in March.
Here's the judge's decision:
The ordinance was passed nearly a year ago, Star Tribune reported in Winona County passes frac sand ban, first in the state to take such a stand.
Photo: LSP led a vigorous campaign for the ordinance. Yard signs popped like shaggy manes on lawns across the county. Photo via Winona Daily News.
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