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Dayton backs sand mining regulations, no moratorium

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Gov. Mark Dayton tells the Rochester Post Bulletin he could support a statewide moratorium on frac sand mining in Minnesota "if the industry starts to spiral out of control," but he does not think one is warranted now.

Demand for the silica sand found in southeastern Minnesota has soared since the oil industry began using it in hydraulic fracturing -- a process that releases oil and natural gas from rock formations.

Some local governments have put the brakes on the fast-growing industry amid calls for more study of the health and environmental effects of the mining.

Dayton commended the city council in St. Charles, which last week rejected a proposed sand processing center and rail terminal.

A couple different bills regulating frac sand mining are alive at the Legislature, including one that would impose a year-long moratorium on new mines.

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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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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.