Red Wing mayor resigns in face of frac sand investigation

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Facing pressure from the Red Wing City Council over his second job as a lobbyist for the frac sanding industry, Mayor Dennis Egan has decided to resign from his post, the Star Tribune reports.

The resignation comes less than two weeks after the Red Wing City Council said it was launching an investigation into Egan after he took a second job as executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. Egan was also facing a recall petition drive by citizen who wanted to oust him for his work with the lobbying group.

The mayor's resignation takes effect April 1. The City Council said with Egan's resignation, it will drop its investigation.

Egan announced that he was taking a job with the Sand Council earlier this month, and maintained that the position created no conflict of interest with his duties as mayor. He said there were no applications pending before the City of Red Wing for frac sand facilities, and that a city ordinance regulating the industry was approved in October.

The ordinance essentially bans frac sand mining in Red Wing.

Frac sand is used by energy companies to extract natural gas and oil from underground rock in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

According to the Star Tribune, the frac sand industry has caused an uproar throughout southeastern Minnesota because of its fast-moving expansion efforts.

A member of the City Council told the Star Tribune they will begin Monday to set the parameters for a special election to replace Egan.

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