Minnesota’s most southeastern county is moving toward banning silica sand mining.
The Houston County Board gave the ban preliminary approval by a 5-0 vote Wednesday and is expected to make it final on Tuesday.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Department of Natural Resources have named a mix of local government officials, citizens and industry officials to a new 15-member silica sand advisory committee.
A state board has extended the comment period on proposed standards for regulating Minnesota’s sand mining industry. The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board on Monday extended the comment period by two weeks, to Jan. 27. Speakers at the first public hearing on the proposed standards this month had asked the board to extend the 30-day public comment period. They said the holidays gave them too little time to prepare detailed written responses.
Minnesota plans to release model standards Friday to help communities struggling to regulate the boom in mining for silica sand, which oil and gas drillers use for hydraulic fracturing.
In St Charles, Minn., a sand production company is trying to build a plant on 300 acres of land, and residents there are afraid it will ruin their way of life.
For the third day this week we go to visit the small town of St. Charles, Minn., the latest Midwestern spot at the center of the silica sand mining debate. A proposal to bring a sand mine to St. Charles – and mine sand to use in fracking operations – is being hotly debated.
In part two of our special series, Susie Jones shares a story from St. Charles, Minn.
With the oil boom in North Dakota and demand for domestic oil growing, there’s a need for silica sand that’s used to drill for the oil.
Minnesota senators will discuss whether to halt new silica sand mines while the state studies the booming industry.
The mayor of Red Wing says he will step down from that over his second job as a frac sand lobbyist due to a conflict of interest.