Minnesota Governor Worried About Frac Sand Mining

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said Aug. 28 that he’s worried about frac sand mining in southeast Minnesota, and that he will consider asking the Legislature for increased regulation next year.

“I couldn’t get the Legislature to go along with the ban in southeastern Minnesota, but we did get some very, very tight regulations,” Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio during an interview at the Minnesota State Fair. “But I’m prepared to try again next year to get the Legislature to say that area is off-limits,” he added.

Dayton was referring to the initial push at the Capitol for a yearlong moratorium on frac sand mining in order to further study the issue. The proposal was eventually abandoned, as were others like taxing the sand, though the Legislature did approve other regulations like a new permit for mines proposed within one mile of designated trout streams.

Dayton’s comments were stronger than ones he made earlier this year, when he suggested he would only consider a ban if he was convinced that the industry required additional regulations.

On Aug. 28, Dayton said in the interview that while he believes frac sand mining and processing are safer activities in areas of the state like Mankato and north of the Twin Cities, he believes southeast Minnesota is more susceptible to environmental damage because of its bluffs, porous karst geology, trout streams and other features.

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