In Slowing demand for frac sand changes the landscape in southeast Minnesota, Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Baier would have listeners pity the poor, poor frac sand miner whose teeny-tiny little bitty operation is now forced to sell sand for cow bedding, rather than for the more lucrative market for use in fracking.
Oh! what a disaster to have an economic landscape change, because, you know, ripping up a real one is just one big unmitigated blessing.
Except for that naughty slowdown and those mean, mean, tough new laws Minnesota enacted last session, Baier reports:
Rowecamp hopes demand picks up soon. If it does, he estimates they might exhaust the sand deposit in five years.
"If we're going to do anything with the oil and gas industry, that could be possible," he said. "But if it's just sand for Winona County and surrounding counties, I don't know if we'll get it cleared off in five years."
Despite the slowdown in the emerging industry, Minnesota has new laws that prohibit silica sand mining within a mile of a trout stream in parts of the state.
She's just plain making stuff up.
The "new laws that prohibit silica sand mining within a mile of a trout stream in parts of the state" NEVER HAPPENED.
On May 15, the Star Tribune's Tony Kennedy reported in Compromise frac sand deal nixes effort to put trout stream areas off limits to mining:
In a retreat from tough language that would have put much of southeastern Minnesota off limits to frac sand mining, state officials have reached a compromise that will allow mines near the region’s trout streams, but only if companies follow new permitting rules.
As part of a deal announced Tuesday, Sen. Matt Schmit, DFL-Red Wing, said he’ll drop his effort to ban frac sand mining within a mile of any trout stream in the southeast corner of the state. The ban was embraced by Gov. Mark Dayton until a compromise emerged at a recent meeting with Schmit, industry lobbyists, three state agency heads and organized labor.
If the deal goes as expected, the 2013 legislative session will end without sweeping statewide environmental protections sought by a throng of “fractivists” from areas around Red Wing, Wabasha, Winona and other parts of the bluff country known as Minnesota’s Paleozoic Plateau. . . .
. . .Under the compromise, any company proposing to dig within a mile of a trout stream within the Paleozoic Plateau would need a special DNR permit.
That's right. A permit from the DNR.
Via the Houston County News, Minnesota Public Radio's Elizabeth Dunbar and Stephanie Hemphill reported pretty much the same thing in Compromise reached to permit frac sand mines near trout streams. Tom Sheck reported on the vote in Enviro budget bill requires DNR approval for frac sand mining.
But with crack reporters like Baier telling Minnesota that mining within a mile of trout streams is banned, and the industry has slowed down, those who continue to raise questions about mining simply come off as sore winners.
This despite the fact that Baier's facts are just plain wrong. Will MPR issue an on-air correction? Don't hold your breath.
Update: Land Stewardship Project's Johanna Rupprecht noted on Facebook that Baier's report wasn't the first time MPR reported in Mahtomedi frac sand mining forum draws hundreds over concerns:
Minnesota has new laws that prohibit silica sand mining in parts of southeastern Minnesota, and the state is working on more specific rules to protect communities and the environment.
Egan said Minnesota's existing laws are stringent enough, but Fischer said more regulations could be considered during the next legislative session, including a tax on sand leaving the state.
Well, at least we know now who's telling MPR reporters that our laws are strict enough. (Facepalm).
Images: Screenshot of the MPR misinformation (above); A trout taken from a stream in Southeastern Minnesota (below). Baier's report may make you feel happy for the stream, and sad for the miner, but it's just bologna.
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