Donna Buckbee: Miller stood in the way

2013-05-05T00:00:00Z 2013-07-22T11:01:18Z Donna Buckbee: Miller stood in the wayBy DONNA BUCKBEE Rushford, Minn. Winona Daily News
May 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

In this time of crisis, southeast Minnesota deserves leadership to provide strong protections against the ravages of industrial-scale frac sand mining. Not only is Sen. Jeremy Miller not leading, he is an obstructionist to meaningful legislation.

Sen. Matt Schmit of Red Wing, working with Trout Unlimited, proposed provisions to protect Trout Streams in Southeast Minnesota from the frac sand industry.

The protections in the Game and Fish Policy Bill -- Senate File 796 -- would include:

n a mile setback from trout streams;

n limit on how much groundwater frac sand facilities could use;

n prohibition on mining within 25 feet of the water table.

Even DNR Commissioner Landwehr testified that we need these provisions to protect the trout streams. Despite this, Sen. Miller cast the deciding vote to kill these provisions.

Karst matters. Our area has some of the best trout streams in the country because of the pristine cold water springs that come with karst geology. Frac sand mining threatens to pollute this water and also disrupt the flow of springs in ways that could raise the water temperature. This is death to trout.

Trout fishing brings over $1.1 billion to our driftless region every year. Think of the jobs provided. Our state has invested millions in stocking and protecting these streams. Yet Miller's obstructionism means this revenue is put at risk and the investment dollars are trashed.

I suppose Miller's actions should not come as a surprise. He doesn't seem inclined to protect citizens from the dangers of frac sand mining--the air we breathe, the water we drink, the roads we drive on, our home values--so why would he care about trout?

Call Sen. Miller at 651-296-5649 and let him know that you want him to side with his constituents and not frac sand special interests. At the very least, he should get out of the way of good legislators like Sen. Schmit who are trying to get something done.

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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