Skip to main content

Minn. Senate panel OKs moratorium on frac sand mines

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

A bill approved by a state Senate committee would impose a one-year moratorium on new silica sand mines in Minnesota.

The measure approved by the Environment and Energy Committee also calls for a state environmental impact statement to help gauge the effects of the mines.

It also would also levy a tax to cover road maintenance costs and establish a board to oversee the mines in southeastern Minnesota. Republican critics argued the moves will drive sand mining jobs to Wisconsin. The bill's sponsor, Red Wing DFLer Matt Schmit, maintains the state should take a long-term view, saying, "We have an opportunity to get this right."

The demand for silica sand has exploded since the oil industry began using it in hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and natural gas from rock. Southeastern Minnesota is rich with silica sand deposits and mines have been sprouting in the area. Lawmakers heard testimony last week from residents concerned about possible environmental and health damage and from industry representatives arguing local oversight is preferable to state regulation.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-11 at 2.49.44 PM

15,000 Minnesota nurses 'overwhelmingly' authorize strike

Overworked and underpaid, the Minnesota Nurses Association is ready to strike.

School dinners lunch

Minnesota to offer free school meals to 90,000 extra students

Gov. Tim Walz, who is facing re-election in November, announced the measure on Monday.

motorcycle

Minneapolis man dies from injuries days after motorcycle pileup

The 69-year-old died after four days at Regions Hospital.

Sebastion Wolbersen-O’Hara

Police: 15-year-old missing from home north of Twin Cities

Authorities say he may be headed to the metro.

Joseph_P._Kennedy,_Sr_optimized

Foundation, the building, the win

Identifying Value Plus Catalysts helps your financial strategy and foundation

boating minnesota lake

25-year-old Hopkins man drowns after falling off boat

The man reportedly fell from the boat while fishing with friends.

mayor frey city minneapolis live stream march 14 2022

What's in Mayor Jacob Frey's budget proposal?

Here's a breakdown of what the Minneapolis mayor is focusing on in 2023-24.

Low, Mimi Parker

Low cancels Europe shows due to Mimi Parker's cancer treatment

The Duluth band says the decision follows 'recent changes' in Parker's treatment.

Related

"What's the rush?": critics of frac sand mining seek moratoriums

The energy industry is anxious to use southeastern Minnesota sands to help release petroleum deposits that conventional drilling can't reach. They've likened the mining of that sand to a gold rush. But activists concerned about the environmental effects of the sand mines want to allow time for more studies.

Winona County expected to vote on frac sand mining moratorium Tuesday

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.

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.