From: Dale Schauer
One hundred pounds of sand is dumped (and cleaned up) on the steps of Winona City Hall and a fine is rendered for littering. Trucks haul “tons” of frac sand dispersing potentially life impacting dust throughout city streets without being charged a cent.
Concerned citizens lobby for a moratorium to halt the expansion of frac sand operations until their questions and concerns can be addressed. It is approved, however, an exception is made for the city’s port and increased truck traffic.
A bridge labeled unsafe is closed, dramatically impacting business and people’s lives. After some “miraculous” repairs it is declared safe for existing traffic AND an additional 120 trucks a day carrying tons of sand.
A group of constituents requests small group meetings with their elected officials to discuss moratorium issues. The doors are closed as the council is going to serve as judge of an appeal and wants to avoid the possibility of a law suit. Yet the meeting format does not follow city code for an appeal.
As their homes shake and dust collects, neighbors to a nearby mine are told a mining company’s operation is grandfathered. Grandfathered they’re told means the company can continue existing operations, but not change businesses or expand without a CUP. The Company changes ownership, buys new equipment, increases blasting, digs deeper into the earth (vertical expansion?), and increases truck traffic. They “mine” sand vs. the “quarry of” limestone (Yes there is a difference, ref. Webster’s Dictionary).
The public is told quality of life will be protected and the city will seek a balance between business/economic impact and the environment/ quality of life. Is the scale balanced? The weight of gold (golden) sand and economic interests appear to weigh more. Winona city and county representatives need to seriously consider the long-term impact of frac sand operations when making their decisions.