On purpose or not, the frac sand industry continues to move forward without full disclosure of information.

Last fall, Winona County determined that an Environmental Awareness Worksheet (EAW) needs to be completed before a mining permit for frac sand would be considered. Accordingly, the mine proposer submits a competed EAW to the county. The county reviews it and then there is a 30-day period for the public to comment.

EAWs for the proposed Yoder and Dablestein mines were submitted last fall but were found to be incomplete. The mine proposers resubmitted EAWs over the holidays, and Christmas Eve was the start date for the 30-day public comment period.

Once again, the EAWs were found to be incomplete They did not include operation and reclamation plans — significant pieces of information. Consequently, the response date has been changed.

If this is how the frac sand industry is going to operate, what oversights will follow if they are allowed to blast, mine, transport and process frac sand? Documents can be changed. Our air, water, environment and quality of life, once polluted or damaged, can’t be resubmitted and will not be as easy to fix, if at all.

It should be noted that the discrepancies and lack of information were discovered through public review, not by county officials. These are only two EAWs. What is the county going to do if a rash of applications come in?

If accurate EAWs are completed and permits granted, who and how is the industry going to be monitored to ensure what is in the documents is being followed ?

The EAWs are available for review at the Winona County Website: www.co. winona.mn.us/page/3038.

Comments need to be made before Feb. 6 and should be directed to: Winona County Planning and Environmental Services Department; 177 Main St., Winona, MN 55987; Attn: Jason Gilman, Director.

(4) comments

Joe Friday

'Cause their amateurs? Google Geoffrey G. Griffin--the contact on the EAW's. Know that his proposed mining near Chatfield got shut down right away. Looks like he's had a bit of other trouble also. Kudos to the peeps of Filmore County--they ran him into Winona County and have a three-mine limit for their county.

Joe Friday

May be 'cause they're amateurs. This is becoming increasingly clear regarding the proposed sand wash facility near St. Charles. Looks like we'll have budding entrepreneurs all over Winona County (yay :( Try googling Geoffrey G. Griffin, the contact person from Chatfield on both the Dabelstein and Yoder EAWs--looks like he's had a bit of trouble. In addition, his fledgling mining operations got shut down right away by the peeps near Chatfield. Guess that brought him into Winona County, and Fillmore put in a county-wide three-mine limit. Think may be the Fillmore County folks are the sharper tools in the shed.

Joe Friday

To WDN--You can delete one of those posts--thought the first one didn't post. My bad.

Joe Friday

Wow--this guy is all over! Just this Wednesday he was trying to sell the State Legislature on electronic Asian carp barriers. He doesn't have time to see that EAWs are properly filled out.

"Geoff Griffin of G-Cubed, a company that helps build electric barriers, said the DNR consultant did a poor job of compiling its report, including not looking at barriers that would be similar to one proposed for the Mississippi River in St. Paul.

Griffin said his company and one he works with could build a barrier for $5 million, far less than up to $19 million that the DNR report says would be needed for the sound-bubble-light barrier. Such a barrier never has been built, and electric barrier supporters say their method is far more effective."


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