Mining-hub town of St. Charles says no to major frac sand facility

  • Article by: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 13, 2013 - 6:04 AM

Vote is blow to mining industry in southeastern Minnesota.

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julio57Mar. 12, 1311:16 PM

This is a tough one. I work in a small town about 20 miles from St. Charles and know first hand that, like any small town, any new jobs are good jobs. However, I strongly support the rights of individual communities to set rules that they feel best serve their community. I am also close friends with a family that owns land they hope to be used for quarrying frac sand. They have seen much opposition from locally, and they are sitting on millions of dollars worth of sand, and I hope they get it. I am a farmer, from a farm family, and am very concerned what frac sand processing could do to the environment. Groundwater usage is growing yearly, and eventually we will run the accessible aquifers out. I also own a business and support any businesses rights to operate legally within the law. The list of contradictory viewpoints goes on and on. Anyone who thinks this is a simple issue is not only naïve, they are ignorant.

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benny4540Mar. 12, 1311:44 PM

nope, wrong, this is incredibly simple...mineral extraction ALWAYS goes like this: promises made, opposition voice, plants gets built somewhere, a select few make millions off the land, 1-3% of the local population work for the plant, everyone else bears all the costs...pollution, noise, accidents, etc., the environmental effects start popping up, the mining industry claims it's not them, it is them, half the workers get sick, the mining process starts poisoning the surrounding environment, the minerals run out, the people lose their jobs, the company declares bankruptcy and the area for miles around is poisoned, and st. charles or wherever they put this thing, is a running sore that nobody wants to go near.... and all the other things that might have developed there developed elsewhere cuz nobody wanted to be near that messy, noisy, congested, groundwater poisoning plant....................and water ain't free folks, there's X amount..............the water used for washing will prove to be more valuable than the sand itself.....you don't want the oil industry...and this is what this is, the oil industry.....digging holes in your small town.....they will trample evereything and poison everyone to get their oil

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suzukisvMar. 12, 1311:49 PM

This is a extraction business and as with any extraction business, when it's gone, so are the companies. The only thing that is ever left is the mess. It's never a question of if, only a question of when. Probably smart to pass on this entirely.

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thedanmanMar. 13, 1312:17 AM

Fracking has been going on for decades and yet there is still no proof that it harms to . Even the EPA can't do anything about it and they've been trying to implement every tool to prohibit/regulate anything remotely "suspect" in the last 4 years. Fed government needs to get on top of this ASAP to regulate the Mickey Mouse politics and fear going on in CITIES, not to mention counties and states. In the meantime, those who don't like fracking for natural gas, please use something else, like propane or fuel oil, to fire your water heaters and furnaces.

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chuzeusMar. 13, 13 1:36 AM

I'm sure that I use as much fossil fuels as anyone else but I certainly wouldn't want this in my backyard (NIMBY). I've ridden my motorcycle on roads that are used by these Frac Sand operations and it's horrible; it's not bad if you are driving a car but if you are on two wheels you need to use extra caution. The facts are that there aren't any "clean" aspects of the oil business.

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rangesonMar. 13, 13 6:52 AM

It's a gosh-darn good thing that "silica" isn't included in mineral rights ownership.....or these people would soon find themselves in the position many of us here in the northeast find ourselves: being forced to let mining reps walk our pristine hunting/fishing land we've "owned" for decades, so they can find their precious minerals under our land. So be very careful that the state doesn't get involved in this, because money trumps everything.

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livefreeordMar. 13, 13 7:33 AM

Give me a break. They're digging sand out of the ground, rinsing it and shipping it. It's not terribly complicated or risky. I'd agree that they shouldn't be pumping large quantities of groundwater unless they're recharging the aquifer via a settling basin or by pumping it back where it came from. As it will be used for rinsing sand also from the aquifer, there shouldn't be any pollution trouble. This seems terribly innocuous and all the people in opposition better be biking to work and heating with solar. We need the natural gas and oil being generated from the fracing. Opposition to simple sand mining is terribly short sighted.

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riverrat76Mar. 13, 13 7:48 AM

Selfishly as a person that visits Whitewater State Park a few times a year I was happy to see this story this morning. I think Benny said it right. Talk to the people of western ND that don't own oil land and don't work in the field. 95% of them would go back to the way it was 10 years ago. While this wouldn't have made St Charles anything like the Williston area it would have certainly changed it.

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mn2niceMar. 13, 13 8:09 AM

These frac sand operations represent huge profits for the mining companies as long as fractionization is used to extract crude bitumen from the Oil Sands projects in Alberta, Canada and from oil fields in the Dakotas. It is not likely to disappear in the next ten years. With potential ultimate recoverable crude bitumen deposits in Alberta being approximately 1.8 trillion barrels, these frac sand companies will deplete every area of minable sand suitable for use in fractionization that they can get their hands on, and when it is gone they will not want to have to return the area mined to its previous state without aggressive action by the state and EPA to do so. The oil boom in the Dakotas and Alberta is so huge it has the potential to give people tunnel vision. The official representatives of the people in St. Charles have spoken. Let's see if the other stakeholders do the same. Think before you act.

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timandtiaMar. 13, 13 8:37 AM

I wonder if any of the people in the Dakota's are watching this. Just think when the oil runs out up there. Will the sand run out here in St. Charles? Yes, someday. It is so hard to handle our natural resources (sand in this case). I to hate to see the environment torn up for a "couple of years" and then left behind for someone to clean it up. I guess we could look at West Virginia on how they handle the coal mining out there.

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