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City of Red Wing becomes latest to put moratorium on mining of frac sand

City leaders have approved a one-year ban on silica sand mining within the city limits, where a county moratorium does not apply. Wabasha and Goodhue Counties earlier approved similar bans as they try to figure out what effects mining could have on the area and environment.
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City leaders have approved a one-year ban on silica sand mining within the city limits, where a county moratorium does not apply. Wabasha and Goodhue Counties earlier approved similar bans as they try to figure out what effects mining could have on the area and environment.

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Two more southeast Minnesota counties approve silica sand mining moratoriums

The Rochester Post Bulletin reports both the Houston and Fillmore County Boards passed resolutions earlier this week. Goodhue, Wabasha and Winona are also among the list of counties, cities and townships concerned with the proliferation of silica sand mines.

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Townships in Goodhue County are talking about setting up their own restrictions to limit the mining of silica sand, which is used to help extract oil and gas from wells. Some opponents of the sand mines think the county has not done enough to keep them out.

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Several silica sand mining projects are planned or proposed in Winona County. But some residents want to slow things down to let the county consider stricter regulations to guard against environmental and health risks.

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High Country Sand wants the court to order the county to move forward with reviewing and approving its application to build a silica sand mine. The county says it put the moratorium in place to give officials time to review whether silica sand mining warrants new rules to protect health and the environment. Silica sand is used in hydraulic fracturing, a process that releases oil and natural gas from the earth.

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