From: Marie Kovecsi
Here we go again. CD Corp had a request amended in May and June (2012) for number of barges shipping frac sand through our Port. The Board of Adjustment reduced the number of requested barges to no more than 24 per month in their meeting of May 2, 2012. This was in response to citizens raising issues regarding excessive truck traffic, (especially from the bridge, on Fourth St., Huff St., and to the port), dust control (partial pavement of roads on the site when the standard requires pavement where trucks and machinery are operating), health issues from diesel fumes, safety factors from this truck route and air and health quality issues.
There was a citizen appeal to this decision and on June 4, 2012, the mayor offered compromises and the City Council approved the application to fill and ship 24 barges of frac sand per month. They also required a moisture content level in the sand to be at four percent in an effort to control harmful silica sand dust.
Now, there is a request to double the number of barges to be filled with frac sand to 48 per month. What is the rationale for this? Why now, in the off-season? What is the truck count and route for this? There is no new information indicating any changes for citizens that would allow this new volume of traffic and dust to occur without affecting our health and safety. In fact, there is no information posted on the city website for this meeting.
The request also is asking to reduce the percent of moisture to 1.5 percent. We have no way to know the health risks to our air quality from this volume of business. Why are Winona citizens being used to test any consequences of breathing this dust in our air?
Each barge holds 60 truckloads of sand, so there will be 2880 trucks each month entering and leaving the Port, just for frac sand. This is a total of 5660 truck trips per month, or, 808 trucks PER DAY. No street improvements have been made in this area since the approval for 24 barges was made. Our city manager provided background for the Port to the City Council in January and said there would be no more than 150 barges for frac sand per season. Why is a request now being made for so many more barges?
No air quality studies have been made or even proposed. How do we know it is safe to breathe in the dust from this volume of trucks, right downtown, passing businesses, restaurants and the YMCA?
If the city is truly protecting the health, safety, welfare and quality of life for all citizens, this request will be turned down AGAIN, by citizen input. Come to the meeting on Wednesday, Dec 5 at City Hall Council Chambers at 5:00. Tell them, AGAIN, that citizens do not want this increase in truck traffic or health hazard in our city.