The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 22, 2013

Your View: Silica sand mining moratorium needed

Jim Vonderharr, Mankato

— Scott Susacek, CEO of Jordan Sands, stated in his testimony before the State of Minnesota Joint Environmental and Energy hearing on silica sand mining that their company “looks for mining areas that will have the least impact on the environment and people living around the sites.” (Free Press Feb. 20)

I was at that hearing and he actually said it with a straight face. This proposed industry is within one mile of the Deerhaven community, with more than 20 households, right next door to a new day care center and within two miles of scores of residents along Third Avenue and Stonehenge. It will also be within three miles of downtown Mankato.

How can he say that this operation will not impact these people? Ask anyone who lives within close proximity to the Unimin plant in Kasota and they will tell you of their experience with dust from that facility. Also, take the time to check on the impact that communities in southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin have had with similar operations.

Property values have declined, local businesses have not prospered and the promised job creation has not happened.

People of Mankato, please wake up. If this horse is let out of the barn, the rest of the herd will follow — quickly. There will be no going back.

At stake is the air quality (silica dust has been a known carcinogen for many decades) of the whole Mankato region, availability and quality of the drinking water from our aquifer and a general deterioration of the quality of life in our region.

Please encourage your elected state representatives to pass moratoriums that will allow for more time to study the potential effects of this potentially dangerous mining activity before they get started.