According to multiple news reports, at least 40 people have been arrested in Winona, Minn., during a protest of frac sand mining.
Protesters gathered at an intersection and then walked to the commercial harbor and a sand processing plant on Winona's west end. Winona Police Chief Paul Bostrack tells the Winona Daily News about 20 people were arrested at each site after being warned they were trespassing on private property. Winona Catholic Workers organized the protest. Protesters say their goal was to halt business operations at each site. Dan Nisbit, owner of CD Corp., which leases the commercial dock, says the protest created a distraction for workers and temporarily slowed operations at the facility.
An amendment to an environmental bill that would prohibit silica sand mining near some state streams and waterways was narrowly defeated at the Minnesota state capitol, according to KARE TV. The measure in the Senate Game and Fish bill would stop silica or “frac” sand mining within a mile from any trout streams in far southeast Minnesota. “You just want to make sure you get ahead of this,” said DFL State Senator Matt Schmit of Red Wing. “I had 10 town hall meetings in the month of March and this issue more than anything came up time and time again."
According to the Caledonia Argus, interest over industrial frac sand mining in Houston County, Minn., has weighed heavy on the hearts of several county residents, and the disbandment of the frac sand study committee has these residents bending the ears of their county commissioners in the name of health, safety and welfare. The majority of public comment shared during the April 23 county board meeting dealt with frac sand mining. Concerned residents say the study committee – disbanded on April 19 – blatantly disregarded county board directives, specifically over the prohibition of sand washing with or without flocculents, and demonstrated a callous indifference to the 2008 Comprehensive Land Use Plan of the county.