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Winona County passes 3-month moratorium on silica sand mining

County commissioners in Winona are among the latest officials in southeast Minnesota to hit the pause button on frac sand mining while they study possible environmental and public health effects.
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County commissioners in Winona are among the latest officials in southeast Minnesota to hit the pause button on frac sand mining while they study possible environmental and public health effects.

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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.

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.

"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.

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.

Winona mining company sues Eau Claire County over moratorium on silica mines

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.