The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

February 18, 2013

Legislative frac sand hearing draws local interest

(Continued)

MANKATO —

The same can be said of the Lime Township Township Board, which is will likely be faced this spring with the task of deciding whether or not to approve the mine.

“A lot of us small communities and townships lack the financial ability to do in-depth studies and regulations,” Township Chair Karl Friedrichs said. “We have to rely on state agencies.”

That’s one of the issues to be considered at the legislature: Do the lack of regulations at the state level put unrealistic burden on local governments?

“If the state would choose to adopt guidelines and provide guidance, it would certainly be considered and useful to the township,” Friedrich said.

A standard for how much silica sand particles of a certain size can be in the air would be near the top of that list. 

Proctor has been communicating with state agencies such as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to see what existing standards there are for silica mining. In a letter to state legislators, she said the lack of rules is “scary.”

But even if the state decided to enact a moratorium on silica sand mining, would it affect the Jordan Sands project?

The answer appears to be yes, depending on when the moratorium is effective. The township is unlikely to consider the conditional use permit, the final stage in the process, until late April, at the very earliest.

Before that, however, the township board has to decide whether or not to order a lengthy environmental study, likely during its March 19 meeting. Proctor has urged the board to order the study.

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