ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — In St. Paul Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton said he doesn’t have the legal authority to declare a moratorium on frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota.
This announcement comes after dozens of residents delivered a petition to his office asking for one. Both sides of the Mississippi River bluffs are home to a special kind of sand that’s used in frac mining for oil and gas.
But frac sand mining is causing controversy in places where it’s happening, including southeastern Minnesota.
Dozens of residents came by bus to deliver petitions with 6,000 names to Gov. Dayton, asking him to impose a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining.
Houston County resident Marilyn Frauenkron Bayer says mining opponents want tougher air- and water-quality regulations.
“Earth Day is all about standing up to those who would put short-term profits before the care of the land – just exactly what the frac sand industry does,” Frauenkron Bayer said. “Which is why we are here, standing up for the land.”
Even before he got the petitions, Gov. Dayton’s office issued a statement saying that he strongly supported a moratorium last year.
But a spokesman says the governor has received legal advice telling him he cannot impose a moratorium without the consent of the legislature.