St. Charles, Minn., ponders future as sand mining takes off

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 1, 2012 - 6:24 AM

St. Charles weighs chance to be the state's gateway to a new frontier.

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yarnerSep. 29, 1210:49 PM

I'm very disappointed to hear that this is taking place in St. Charles. Sand mining will be detrimental to the health of all people living near the mines, and I can't even begin to imagine what it will do to the landscape. I wonder if the owners of this business venture would feel comfortable breathing in the silica-filled air or the contaminated water that will result from this.

fishtrap28Sep. 30, 1212:23 AM

Out of curiosity I googled "why is fracking bad?" The first site on top of the results was from a catskill mountain webpage. The heading to the site said, "What's wrong with Fracking"? The very first sentence in response was, "the answer is almost everything." That sentence alone is a big statement. I won’t disregard the economic benefits that this could give to the community of St. Charles, but for Chad Nolte to state that,” there is absolutely nothing harmful that is going to come of this” seems to be preposterous.

dsetnicker46Sep. 30, 12 6:06 AM

Welcome to the conundrum vs. environment. It's the same issue that's facing increased mining on the Iron Range and the decision is not easy. But don't be sucked into the "lower costs" for this and for that. It all becomes the eternal tradeoff. Fracking is coming under scrutiny here and in Europe and one shouldn't be surprised about a dramatic slowdown in its development. Think renewables!

donethatSep. 30, 12 6:19 AM

Dear residents of St. Charles, before you allow this to happen to your beautiful town, please take a vacation drive to Williston, North Dakota to see what frac mininG can do for you. Talk to former residents who have been driven out of their homes by the Greed of landlords raisinG rents beyond the means of lifelonG citizens, roads destroyed by heavy equipment, the massive buildinG of substandard, temporary housinG, the rape of the landscape. My beloved Northwestern North Dakota, sold for profit and scarred for a century.

chuckdancerSep. 30, 12 6:26 AM

"For the average farmer ...payments of $1 to $3 per ton for excavated material can reasonably add ... By the time a load gets refined to grains of pure crystalline silica and delivered to a drilling field, Big Oil will pay more than $60 a ton for it -- sometimes up to $300 a ton, including transportation costs."...******************* ********************************************* Looks like there is room for more of that money to stay in local communities. If they are going to do this, then careful attention needs to be paid to ensuring how to accomplish that.

bizsmithSep. 30, 12 6:32 AM

Natural gas and compressed natural gas seem to be the fuel of the future. But at what cost to the environment? This could be done right but probably won't. An example of done right is Alafia State Park in Florida where depleted phosphate pits were turned into a dynamite bicycle park.

dje5717Sep. 30, 12 7:39 AM

Just in case one hasn't noticed, prices of groceries, gas, and other items that affect our lives do not go down as easily as they go up. Don't fall for the bait. Our economy is based globally and greed takes center stage. "cheap coal" mined by mountain top removal eventually ends up in China or India because that is where the money is. This will happen here too

backofbourkeSep. 30, 12 7:56 AM

Whether you agree with fracking or not, it is humankind's demand for energy resources that is driving this. This is illustrated in the story, quite ironically, with reference to an opponent of frac sand mining: "His 50-mile daily commute to an office in Rochester is the price he pays for his dream of raising a family in a small town blessed with quality schools." Fracking is also the price he could be paying as a consequence of that 50-mile commute.

elind56Sep. 30, 12 8:49 AM

dsetnicker46 said: "Fracking is coming under scrutiny here and in Europe and one shouldn't be surprised about a dramatic slowdown in its development. Think renewables!"------------------------Coming under scrutiny along with anything else that might contribute to lower energy costs and the increased prosperity it would bring from top to bottom of the socio-economic spectrum. Renewables? Many decades of experimenting with methods to derive affordable energy from rainbows and kitten's breath has been a miserable failure.

teeuurSep. 30, 12 8:53 AM

Of course Jim Ruhberg and his group are against mining. His piece of land butted up againsnt highway 90 has no sand under it,neither does my families area. Jealousy seems so often the fuel of politics. This could be a boon to any small town but the huge problem is always at what cost.


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