The first Environmental Assessement Worksheet (EAW) for a proposed frac sand mine in Winona County is ready for public review. It is expected to be published by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on Monday.
The study has been done voluntarily by two landowners in Saratoga Township, each represented by G-Cubed Engineering of Chatfield, Minn. Property owners William Yoder and Roger Dablestein have proposed separate mining sites, each reviewed under a single EAW. Yoder has proposed a 38-acre mine, while Dablestein has applied for a mine on approximately 37 acres.
The EAW will not be complete until comments have been collected from members of the public, as well as several state agencies. The EAW will be posted on the EQBís web site on Monday, and copies will be made available at the County Office Building, 177 Main Street in Winona, as well as at the Winona Public Library, St. Charles City Hall and Saratoga Township Hall.
The EQB will accept public comments for 30 days. After comments have been collected, the Winona County Board is expected to take a final vote on whether the environmental review is sufficient. If the EAW isnít satisfactory to the majority of board members, there is a possibility that the board could ask applicants to complete a more comprehensive environmental review, called an Environmental Impact Statement.
Winona County Zoning Administrator Eric Johnson told the board that the draft EAW will likely be reviewed first by the Winona County Planning Commission before it is voted on by the Winona County Board. He said he didnít believe that the county was obligated to hold a public hearing on the document during the planning commission review, but said he thought the county would hold one anyway.
The only other formally proposed mine in the county, on land owned by David Nisbit, is also undergoing an EAW, following a citizen petition and board vote requiring the study.
Keep reading the Winona Post for more on the environmental study.