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New Frac Sand Plant Tied to Environmental Assessment

An environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) ordered for a proposed frac sand mine near Rushford, Minn., was debated by Houston County commissioners, according to a report in the Spring Grove Herald.

The EAW, which could well set the stage for future frac sand mines within the county, was ordered by commissioners on Aug. 7. The document is now in draft form, having been drawn up by G-Cubed Engineering (formerly GGG, Inc.), the same company that completed the mine operations plan for Minnesota Sands, LLC earlier this year.

Minnesota Sands, LLC and landowner Tracie Erickson are currently suing Houston County over restrictions placed on the conversion of the existing aggregate sand mine to an industrial-scale frac sand facility.

Residents representing Houston County Protectors, a group of concerned citizens, cried foul over letting G-Cubed write the EAW.

Dr. Chad Oness of rural Houston told the board that the document should have been prepared by an “objective third party,” rather than a company employed by Minnesota Sands.

“We're going to be held morally and ethically accountable,” Oness said. He added that “pimping the land out to profiteers” could result in much more environmental damage than a few torn up roads.