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Goodhue County frac sand study group: Drop moratorium

RED WING — The Goodhue County Mining Study Committee voted June 8 to recommend that the county's silica sand mining moratorium not be extended. The issue passed by a 7-2 vote.

Goodhue County was the first Minnesota county to face organized citizen opposition in 2011 after Windsor Permian, an Oklahoma-based energy company, purchased 155 acres of land near Red Wing with the intent of creating the county's first frac sand mine.

The county adopted a one-year moratorium in Sept. 2011 to study health and environmental concerns related to the industry. When questions remained after intensive study, the county board voted to extend that moratorium for a second year.

The mining moratorium is set to expire Sept. 6, but recent legislation would allow the county to extend the moratorium for a third year. The state is scheduled to release its findings on various silica sand mining issues periodically over the next year.

The Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission is scheduled to debate the issue during its July 16 meeting before the five-member county board votes on the matter on Aug. 6.

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