On March 10, the Winona Daily News reported in County attorney: Winona County frac sand ban unlikely, referendum out:
A ban on frac sand mining in Winona County would be possible, but fraught with legal concerns.
And a voter referendum on a ban? No chance, at least in Minnesota.
That was the opinion the Winona County Attorney’s Office provided this week to county commissioners and residents, amid a renewed swell of calls for the county to consider an outright ban on the practice. . . .
Chris Rogers at the Winona Post has more in Frac ban talks dominate meeting.
Now LSP has issued a legal analysis of the question. A news release on the report, Report Finds a Winona County Frac Sand Ban has Strong Legal Justification, notes:
Minnesota law does not prevent imposing a total ban on frac sand mining, processing and transportation operations in Winona County, according to a new legal analysis released today by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP). The analysis, “Legal and Practical Considerations in Support of a Zoning Ban on Frac Sand Operations in Winona County: A Review of Minnesota Statutes, Case Law, and County Policy,” was written by attorney Leili Fatehi and documents why a ban on any new frac sand mining, processing and transportation operations is by far the most appropriate policy for Winona County to adopt.
"No Minnesota statutory or case law supports a conclusion that counties can't entirely ban frac sand operations by zoning ordinance, nor, for that matter, that a ban is legal only when the county can prove regulations would be insufficient,” said Fatehi, who is an expert on legal and policy issues related to the environment, health, science and technology, and who teaches at the University of Minnesota Law School. “The reality is that, not only will courts presume such a ban by zoning ordinance is legal, but it's also easier for a county to defend than a denial of a permit through regulatory measures."
Since June 2015, LSP has led a grassroots campaign calling for a frac sand ban in Winona County. This southeastern Minnesota county has been heavily targeted in recent years with proposals to mine and process vast quantities of sand for the use of the oil and gas industry in hydraulic fracturing in other states. . . .
Read the rest at LSP's website site. Here's the report:
Photo: Rural Winona County, from the report
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