State Officers Guidance on Silica Sand Regulations

Created: 12/13/2013 6:59 PM KAALtv.com
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Minnesota released a new tool kit Friday for local governments that are dealing with the issue of silica sand mining. The standards were required as part of legislation passed last session.


Frac sand or silica sand mining has been a hot topic in Wabasha.

City council member Lynn Schoen says it's not an easy issue to regulate.

"You've got environmental studies, air quality studies, you have to look at water, and diesel omissions," said Schoen.

That's one of the reasons the legislature ordered that the state issue the model standards for silica sand mining.

"People don't realize that smaller towns don't have the staffing, so we don't have a planner or a zoner," said Schoen.

The guidelines released Friday are being called a toolbox. They go over certain scenarios and contain research on the issue.

But Schoen says there are things missing in the guidelines.

"I think one of the glaring omissions is that if a local community wants to completely ban frac sand mining, there are no clear regulations to tell us how to do that," said Schoen.

While Schoen believes the guidelines will help, she's says the state needs to do more to regulate frac sand mining.

"This isn't just a community issue this is a regional issue, if Lake City and Winona makes a decision, it's going to impact us, same with Rochester and St. Charles, it's going to affect all of us, it's not just a Wabasha issue," said Schoen.

The 2013 legislation also set up a silica sand technical assistance team to provide assistance to local governments. It consists of experts from the DNR, pollution control, and the Department of Health.