Minnesota Sands Appeals to Supreme Court

The Winona Post reports that after losing at the district, appellate and state Supreme Court level, Minnesota Sands is taking its case against Winona County’s frac sand ban to the highest court in the land. Minnesota Sands appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court last week, the company announced, asking the high court to take up its case.

Minnesota Sands LLC owns, develops and acquires silica deposits to produce custom sand proppants using high-quality Minnesota quartz and substrates for customers in the energy industry. The Minnesota-owned and based company is committed to protecting the environment and creating quality jobs and a positive economic impact in communities it operates in.

In 2016, the Winona County Board voted 3-2 to ban the mining of “industrial minerals” in rural parts of the county. The effect of that ban was that it blocked frac sand mining while allowing mining sand for local construction purposes. Minnesota Sands – which held leases to numerous Winona County sand deposits it said were worth $62 million – claims the ban violates the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on local regulation of interstate commerce and that the ban takes away Minnesota Sands’ property rights without just compensation.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals and Minnesota Supreme Court both ruled narrowly in the county’s favor, saying the county was within its rights to protect the health and welfare of citizens and that frac sand mining and plain-old sand mining were substantively different.

“We believe the Minnesota Supreme Court’s recent decision to not overturn the ban creates dangerous conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court precedent,” Minnesota Sands President Rick Frick said in a statement. “We are hopeful the court will decide to hear this case and overturn what we continue to believe is an ordinance that clearly interferes with interstate commerce and violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.”

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