Air-Quality Monitoring Plan Delayed

According to the Winona Post, the city of Winona, Minn., is not much closer to deciding whether it will conduct air-quality monitoring for silica dust and diesel fumes associated with the frac sand industry.

The Winona Planning Commission referred recommendations for immediate monitoring made by the Citizens Environmental Quality Committee (CEQC) back to that committee for review in light of recent legislation that calls for the establishment of a team of state agency experts and model ordinances to assist local governments with the frac sand issue.

Calling for “proactive” monitoring of dust before the state took action, the City Council asked the Planning Commission in early March to consider air-quality monitoring of silica dust. The Planning Commission referred the topic to the CEQC in April, which finalized its recommendations for immediate monitoring of silica dust and diesel fumes in early May.

City staff recommended that the commission recommend referring the CEQC monitoring proposal to the yet-to-be formed Silica Sand Technical Assistance Team (SSTAT). Upon request, that team of state agency staff will provide legally binding recommendations to local governments regarding silica sand mining, transportation and processing.

Local governments that ask for advice from the SSTAT must follow the advice or provide legal findings of fact to explain why they did not. That team is expected to be formed by October 1.

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