The Winona Daily News and Winona Post report that on Tuesday, the Winona County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 on Tuesday to send the issue of banning most types of sand to the county planning commission.
In Winona County board moves forward on frac sand ban; public hearings coming up, the Daily News' Glen Olson reports:
The Winona County Board of Commissioners took a key step Tuesday toward a final decision on whether to ban most frac sand activity in the county.
The board voted 4-1 to send the issue to the county planning commission, which will have 60 days to hold a public hearing and make a recommendation to the county board. The county board will then be asked to make a final decision.
The vote followed similar lines as previous ones on the issue, including on April 26 when the board instructed planning staff and the county attorney to develop language for a ban on silica sand mining related to its use in fracking operations elsewhere in the county. . . .
The amendment’s language draws from several examples, including the Goodhue County Florence Township’s ban on silica sand mining for fracking, and the Land Stewardship Project’s proposed language for a ban.
Read the entire story at the Winona Daily News. In the Winona Post article, County moves on 1/2 cent sales tax, sand ban, Chris Rogers reports:
The Winona County Planning Commission will have its hands full after Tuesday’s meeting. In a 4-1 vote, the County Board passed on a proposal to ban frac sand mining — defined as sand mining for industrial uses — to the Planning Commission. Jacob and Ward criticized the proposal as unfairly and illogically singling out frac sand from other sand mining industries. The proposal would allow construction sand mining.
Jacob said the proposal was “setting the table for a lawsuit,” but ultimately voted to pass the proposed ban on to the Planning Commission and a series of public hearings. The frac sand issue is an “open wound in the community,” Jacob said. There will never be closure unless the county goes through the process for considering this ban, he added. Ward voted against the proposal.
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed frac sand ban before forwarding its recommendation to the County Board for another public hearing and a final vote.
A reminder of the St. Charles sand war
In a letter to the editors of the Daily News, Doug Nopar reminds readers that Citizens stopped St. Charles frac sand plant, not Winona County:
Winona County commissioner Steve Jacob misleads the public and his constituents when he suggests that he and Winona County's frac sand rules played an important role in stopping the Minnesota Proppant frac sand processing plant in St. Charles in 2013. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That plant was stopped by the uproar of hundreds and hundreds of St. Charles area citizens that convinced the St. Charles City Council to scuttle the proposal. The plant would have been the largest frac sand plant in the U.S.Winona County's very weak frac sand rules had nothing to do with stopping the proposal. And commissioner Jacob wasn't any help either. He was silent on the project and did not oppose it. The only public record I know of regarding Jacob and the project is the financial contribution made to Jacob's 2012 election campaign (and reported to the county auditor on his own campaign financial report) by the spokeswoman for Minnesota Proppant.
Nopar is correct. We posted extensively about the fight against the proposed sand plant in St. Charles, drawing from coverage by the Rochester Bulletin, the Winona papers and other Minnesota media. Shame on the county commissioner for erasing the role of citizens working to preserve the quality of life in their community.
Photo: A frac sand mine.
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