Good News, Bad News & Urgent Action Needed on Frac Sand

LANDSTEWARDSHIP ALERT: Good news, Bad News & Urgent Action Needed on Frac Sand

The good news is that on the front page of today’s Star Tribune, Governor Mark Dayton said this about Sen. Matt Schmit’s provisions to protect trout streams in southeast Minnesota (including a one mile setback): “I strongly support that position and will do everything I can in conference committee to get it enacted.’’

The bad news is that the Governor met with a group of frac sand industry lobbyists today. Despite several requests for a meeting from groups representing citizens affected by frac sand mining, we have not had the same opportunity this legislative session. That the Governor is hearing from one side only is a cause for concern. If the Governor maintains his commitment to the trout stream protections, including the one mile setback, we have a good shot at getting them passed. If his commitment softens, our chances are slim.

Take action! Call Gov. Dayton IMMEDIATELY at 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717, and e-mail him HERE. If you use Facebook, post on Gov. Dayton’s official Facebook page under the fishing opener post or message him on his personal Facebook page .

Message to Gov. Dayton: “I saw the story in the Star Tribune today and am very glad to see that you are strongly supporting a one mile setback from trout streams for frac sand mines in southeast Minnesota. We need some standards in place now that clearly put these most sensitive areas off limits to frac sand mining. I also saw that you met with frac sand lobbyists today. While environmental review is good, it is not, as the industry claims, a standard that protects our community. I urge you to stick to the one mile setback. Once the damage is done, it cannot be undone. We must protect this resource now. I hope you will not consider changing your mind because of today’s meeting. If you are reconsidering your views on this issue, I think you should also meet with people from southeast Minnesota whose communities are on the line.”

This issue is being negotiated now, so we need calls and e-mails immediately.

Join us at the Capitol. We expect Sen. Schmit to offer his amendment on the Senate floor tomorrow and will be gathering at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Senate chambers at the Capitol to show our support. If you plan to attend, let Bobby King know at bking@landstewardshipproject.org.

These provisions that Sen. Schmit developed with Minnesota Trout Unlimited say that for southeast Minnesota’s driftless area (roughly the five counties that are in southeast Minnesota):

  • No frac sand mining is allowed within one mile of any spring, groundwater seepage area, fen, designated trout stream, class 2a water or any tributary of class 2a water or designated trout stream.
  • The DNR cannot issue groundwater appropriation permits for frac sand-related activity, including frac sand processing. (These permits are necessary when over a million gallons of groundwater a year will be used.)
  • Mining frac sand within 25 feet of the water table is prohibited.

These provisions protecting trout streams would help dramatically in limiting the harm frac sand mining can do in southeast Minnesota, and would go into effect immediately. Without a moratorium, we need standards in place NOW before anymore frac sand mines or processing facilities are established in southeast Minnesota. For more details on the language proposed in the amendment, go to LSP’s website HERE.

For more information, contact LSP’s Bobby King at 612-722-6377 or bking.

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