On Thursday night, the Winona County Planning Commission heard public testimony on the county's proposed ordinance to ban the mining of frac sand (silica sand). News reports and social media shared during the event reveal overwhelming support for the ban.
At the Rochester Post Bulletin, Brian Todd reports in Crowd gathers to hear Winona's proposed frac sand ban:
About 200 people packed the rotunda of the Tau Center on the West Campus at Winona State University to answer Margaret Lambert's question: "To ban, or not to ban?"
Lambert, a Winona resident, was one 74 people to address the Winona County Planning Commission as it opened its public hearing Thursday on a proposed ban on silica sand mining for the industrial purpose of hydraulic fracturing. Of the 74 individuals who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, 15 opposed the ban and 59 supported the ban.
As for Lambert, she answered her own question by asking the commission where the funds for a mining expert to write regulations would come from and how much it would cost, and where the funds for enforcement of any regulations would come from and how much it might cost. "Who will pay for damage to the environment?" she asked. . . .
Reasons to support the ban ran a broad spectrum. From the costs of enforcing regulations to the damage caused, both financial and ecological. Some brought up the trustworthiness of the mining industry. . . .
Read the rest at the Post Bulletin. In Frac sand debate takes center stage in Winona County Thursday:
The debate over whether to ban frac sand in Winona County took center stage Thursday in the city.
The Tau Center on Winona State University’s west campus — a venue selected specifically because of the interest in the issue, with the meeting moved from the small county government center — was filled Thursday night for the county planning commission’s first step in discussing the county’s proposed frac sand ban.
The public hearing was strictly to receive public comment, with any final decision left to the county board in late summer or early fall, but the groundswell of support for a ban was immediately evident Thursday. . . .
Dozens of people spoke in the meeting. The speakers for the ban outnumbered those against it by wide margins, but both were represented as the discussion moves forward toward a potential fall vote by the county board.
Those against the ban mostly spoke about the use of regulation, and about not using picking and choosing between uses of the fine, round sand that’s been favored for fracking operations in Texas and elsewhere in the country. . . .
Check out the rest at the WDN. Social media buzzed with the twitter hashtag #fracsandban(and without). Some representative tweets:
.Family farmer Bob Christie says frac sand mining wrong for Winona County economy. We must protect our farmland & farm economy.— Bobby King (@bobby_king_mn) July 1, 2016
Winona County Planning Commission holds public hearing on frac sand mining: The debate over frac sand mining ... https://t.co/W5SpkSG3bf— KTTC News (@KTTCNews) July 1, 2016
Winona County hearing frac sand ban proposal. Vote to come at a later date. https://t.co/qDmTp5jQNx— Elizabeth Dunbar (@edunbarMPR) July 1, 2016
We'll have more on this story as it develops. Bluestem Prairie has been following Minnesota's frac sand mining debate since 2011.
Photo: The crowd at the hearing at the Tau Center. Photo by Bobby king, via twitter.
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