This Week’s Market Buzz

  • According to the Houston County News, The Minnesota Court of Appeals on July 20 reversed a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources decision that a Houston silica sand mine may not operate until the owners obtain a trout stream setback permit. The court determined that the Erickson Sand Mine is not a “new project,” so the mine can legally operate, according to court documents and a citing of the 1985 Reserve Mining Co. v. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency case. “We reverse the Department of Natural Resources’ decision that relators’ silica sand-mining operation is subject to the setback-permit provision,” wrote Justice John P. Smith in court documents, “because relators’ silica sand-mining operation is not a ‘new project’ within the meaning of the statute and because there is no indication that any environmental review at the site had been noticed for public comment after April 30, 2013.”

  • Scott County, Minn.’s first silica sand mine opened 30 years ago, on a plot of land between Jordan and Shakopee. But after 10 years, due to a lack of demand, it closed, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Now lightning has struck twice. Shakopee Sand LLC – a different company mining the same spot ¬– abruptly shut down the mine until further notice. Lower demand for frac sand in the oil and gas industries is to blame, according to a letter Shakopee Sand’s parent company, Fairmount Santrol, sent to the county on June 29. “While these decisions are difficult and have been made with great care, they are absolutely necessary to safeguard Fairmount Santrol’s long-term sustainability,” the letter said.
  • A lawsuit filed by a group of Utica, Ill., and Waltham, Ill., stakeholders against the village of Utica, its board of trustees and Aramoni LLC, in March 2014, for approval of a frac sand mine north of the village was dismissed in court, according to The Times. The suit, filed by Nancy Loeb, of Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University of Law in Chicago, and Walter J. Zukowski, of Peru, Ill., contested the final administrative actions by the Utica board , which approved an annexation agreement and zoning, variance and special use permits on Feb. 5 submitted in November 2013 by Waltham property owner Aramoni LLC, of Oak Park, Ill. Loeb said she plans to appeal the dismissal order – issued July 13 by Bureau County Associate Circuit Judge C. J. Hollerich – before the middle of next month.


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