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Minn. Community Fights Company To Preserve Landscape

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Dozens of members of a picturesque Minnesota community fought a proposal Monday night to bring a mine to their town.

Windsor Permian, an oil and gas company out of Oklahoma, wants to drill for high-quality sand (silica) near Red Wing, Minn. The special “frack” sand near the bluffs helps crews get fuel from underground rock, but the process to get the sand has neighbors worried.

Red Wing Real Estate agent Mark McCaughty says buyers don’t usually ask for a sand fracking mine when they want to buy a house.

“There’s going to be silica dust probably floating into the community. It’s just too close to Red Wing,” he said.

He and close to a 100 people, who call themselves the Save the Bluffs Committee, agreed, signing petitions and attempting to encourage the Red Wing City Council to speak up to commissioners next week.

Dr. Karen DeLuca says she started researching the effects of silica mining when Windsor Permian purchased the land south and west of Red Wing earlier this year.

She was at the meeting Monday night.

“What we’re asking is for a one year moratorium to look at this whole issue,” she said. “I understand we need this sand to do frack mining to get natural gas, but where they want to do it is wrong.”

Windsor Permian said that “the country needs high quality sand to develop our domestic oil resources.”

The company is already fracking across the Mississippi in Wisconsin, and the people there say it’s not so bad.

Arnold Johnson of Maiden Rock, Wis., says he can’t say anything against the company.

“When they started out there years ago … there was a different manager, and of course it was dusty,” he said. “But that’s all cleaned up.”

McCaughty, on the other hand, says it’s pretty terrible in Maiden Rock.

“It’s not fine over there,” he said, citing explosions, blasting and a lot of sand.

The Goodhue Planning Committee will vote on whether or not to take another year to look closer at the proposal or to allow the mining to start.

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