It's an article of faith among corporate lobbyists and public affairs storytellers--and the lawmakers from both parties who love them-- that those of us who live in Greater Minnesota loathe environmentalism.
Meet Johanna Rupprecht, the young woman from Winona County who is the Rochester Post Bulletin's Newsmaker of the Year. Rupprecht clarified rural values and organized people in Southeastern Minnesota to stand for those values.
Brian Todd writes in Year in Review: Rupprecht leads charge to ban frac sand:
On Nov. 22, the Winona County Board of Commissioners did something no other county in Minnesota — likely in the nation — had done. On a 3-2 vote, the board approved final language of an amendment to the Winona County Zoning Ordinance that effectively banned the mining, storage, processing and transportation of silica sand for fracking.
In the public gallery, as she had done for most board meetings, sat Johanna Rupprecht, the Lewiston native who was a key player — if not the key player — in making this historic moment happen.
After about 17 months of work focused on a ban in Winona County, Rupprecht said it took a moment or two for the final vote to sink in.
It had been such a long process," she said. "In spite of the threats and pressure from the frac sand industry, just the fact we built something so strong, that people built a case for it."
Passing the ban showed an example of democracy working the way it should, she said. That means people expressing their opinions and policymakers listening to their constituents to act upon their wishes. "For the vast majority of the people involved in this, it's about the big picture," she said -- the beauty of the land, the reduction of the use of fossil fuels and the environmental degradation both in Winona County and where the hydraulic fracturing occurs.
Her commitment to the cause was key in her selection as the Post Bulletin's Newsmaker of the Year. . . .
Rupprecht said she was just leading a cause in which she believed.
"The land has inherent value, not just to be used for profit by a few," she said. "Frac sand mining is too destructive. People see what it does to the land and the local communities, and they did not want that."
Read the profile at the Post Bulletin of this remarkable young woman who mobilized thousands. She spent some time in Big Stone County while an intern for Land Stewardship Project (it maintains a western field office in Montevideo), before returning to Winona County where she was raised. If that ain't country. . .
Photo: Johanna Rupprecht (right) at 2014's Citizens' Frac Sand Summit. Via What's Happening In/Around Winona in Photos Facebook page.
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen, 33166 770th Ave, Ortonville, MN 56278) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.