Nine protesters linked arms and strung orange tape across the exit of the Modern Transport Rail loading terminal near Huff and Second streets Thursday afternoon, briefly blocking trucks carrying silica sand from leaving the facility.
The demonstration lasted about 20 minutes, and participants left the property before the owner arrived. Winona police were called, but no citations or arrests were made.
Members of the group said they have attended government meetings to voice concerns about the impacts of frac sand mining locally, and the practice of hydraulic fracturing — using pressurized water, sand and chemicals to release gas and oil deposits — in other parts of the country but don’t feel they’ve been heard.
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“It’s an effort to raise awareness in the community that this is happening and that we can stop it,” Diane Leutgeb Munson said.
“The sheer amount of sand coming in and out of Winona, it’s remarkable,” Molly Greening said.
The group handed out a notice that read, in part: “We have used our words time and again to express our many concerns. Now, in the spirit of nonviolence, we use our bodies to say stop. Please, stop.”