Letters in Southeast Minnesota encouraging citizens to attend Land Stewardship Project's Frac Sand Summit in Winona on January 18 contrast sharply with a slurry of news from Wisconsin of mining companies receiving stiff fines for pollution violations.
January 18 Frac Sand Summit in Winona
At the Kenyon Leader, Lynn Schoen of Wabasha writes in Citizens’ Frac Sand Summit on Jan. 18 is the chance to come together and stand up for rural communities:
On Jan 18, I will be at the Land Stewardship Project Citizens’ Frac Sand Summit in Winona. The summit, which is from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Tau Center, will bring citizens together to build knowledge to keep frac sand mining from destroying our communities. I urge everyone concerned about the threat of frac sand mining to join me. Through connecting with others, we can have a positive impact on protecting our community assets and our social, economic and natural environments.
When I look across the Mississippi River to Wisconsin I see the harm that frac sand mining brings to rural communities. The model of this industry is to profit at the expense of local communities. It destroys our farmland, pollutes our air and water and destroys our roads, all while sending much of the profit to out-of-state investors. We have to stand up to this industry and keep it from destroying the successful economy that we have built in our region. Two of our most important economic drivers, agriculture and tourism, are simply not compatible with industrial scale, round the clock strip mining, processing or transporting. . . .
Read the rest at the Kenyon Leader. Schoen is a member of the Wabasha City Council.
Joan Redig of Houston, MN, writes the editors of the Winona Daily News in Frac sand summit:
The Citizen’s Frac Sand Summit on Jan 18 is about making sure rural communities come before profits for frac sand companies.
Frac sand mining has no place in southeast Minnesota. We know from the harm it has done to communities across the river in Wisconsin that it destroys farmland, pollutes the air, destroys roads and does harm to the local economy. Citizens at the grassroots level have demanded that our local and state officials take action to make sure that harm doesn’t happen in Minnesota. So far our grassroots efforts have been very successful and this exploitive industry has been stopped for now. But there is more work to be done and we have to keep building our grassroots power.
That is why the Land Stewardship Project is holding the Citizens’ Frac Sand Summit from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Jan. 18, at the Tau Center in Winona. . . .
Read the rest in the Winona Daily News; Redig's letter had also been published in the Caledonia Argus. John Weiss has more at the Rochester Post Bulletin in Summit in Winona to explore frac sand mining. Check out the Land Stewardship Project's information about the event as well.
Interstate Energy Partners, LLC and Tiller Corporation fined $80,000
The Chetek Alert newspaper reports Another frac sand operation fined for pollution violation:
Two Minnesota companies will pay $80,000 to settle a pollution case in which sediments from a Burnett County frac sand mine infiltrated the St. Croix River in April 2012, according to a news release from Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.
The two companies are Interstate Energy Partners, LLC, which owns a sand and gravel mining facility in the Town of Grantsburg, and the Tiller Corporation, which operates the site.
The civil complaint states that sometime between April 19 and April 22, 2012, a discharge of fine grained sediment ran into a wetland complex, into a creek, and downstream into the St. Croix River. . . .
At St. Croix 360, Greg Seitz has more about the case, including the court documents in Settlement Reached in Grantsburg Frac Sand Mine Spill.
If Joan Redig's letter seems severe in claiming that industrial scale sand mining has no place in the bluff county, consider that she's responding to the damage done in Wisconsin. The Grantsburg case is not alone. The Chetek Alert notes that this is the second operation in Wisconsin to be fined in as many months:
Last month, Preferred Sands in Trempealeau County and Completion Industrial Materials in Wood County settled suits for $200,000 and $80,000, respectively, for air and water pollution violations.
Image: The spill near Grantsburg, via St. Croix 360. The site notes "This photo taken by a hiker in April 2012 first alerted authorities to the spill."
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