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No frac sand washing plant in St. Charles (01/09/2013)
From: Skip Fort

St. Charles, Minn.

More than 80% of the eligible voters surveyed in St. Charles DO NOT want the nation’s LARGEST frac sand washing plant in our town or anywhere near here! In two short weekends late in November, 45 concerned citizens covered about 60% of our town with petitions to stop the frac sand activities within the city of St. Charles. More than 80% of the people contacted signed. Fewer than 10% were not aware or interested and less than 10% thought it may be okay. As a small town, all of these people involved are relatives, neighbors, new or lifetime friends all working closely together. This ugly, potential mess makes everyone united and it feels good as we work closely as this sand monstrosity is being pushed on us. The days are short now, busy holiday season, church and Viking games, and with all of that we still got 906 signatures. As people signed the petition many thanked us for doing this and had much to say about the sand and the city—NOT HAPPY! This shows that our people are getting the facts and information other than just what the oil companies want us to hear. The cold hard facts that everyone needs to hear! I was very disappointed with Mayor Bill Spitzer who said in a newspaper article that people are about 50/50 (for and against it).

Two groups formed at about the same time: Cherokee Road Neighbors (in the township, about 30 people), and Concerned Citizens of St. Charles (which is becoming a very large group), also including many rural people. The leaders of both groups are highly motivated and educated people. Everyone works together with lots of regular meetings. These local people—doctors, lawyers, college professors, many engineers, teachers, medical field workers, and many other professional workers—are included. The energy among these people is high—WE DON’T WANT IT! It does not fit with our community and worse, the problems it brings. Have you noticed how no one else wants it either?

Wisconsin has been taken over and now is trying to regulate what is already running strong. The little town boards and county boards are no match for the oil companies’ lawyers and big money. We can learn from their problems and be thankful for the highly educated group here to keep us out of a mess.

Our community has learned the facts from reputable, educated local people we “can trust.” The sand companies have a habit of overlooking the facts. “Oh well” —they will be gone with all their money and I question if they care about the people that live here!

#1 It has been proven that frac sand dust causes silicosis and cancer, also other serious health issues. “With this huge volume of sand hauling and concentrated in our town I think we can guess the results.” How long —like asbestos —the cumulative effect after some time IS NOT GOOD!

#2 Our water—What they plan to do to our water is a huge concern that I question if anyone knows the answer to. Once again the cumulative effect needs GREAT consideration. Otherwise it will be too late!!! When the sand company started their plans back when (I can’t remember what name they were using at that time) they stated that they would be using 200 to 400 thousand gallons per day from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. six (6) days a week. Sometime along the way they started calling the plant the largest in the nation, running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There seems to be some serious fuzzy math being used here—the water number now has been lowered??? (If this plant gets started our city would be the RGU—ruling government unit). There will be a huge amount of water used each day and with polyacrylamide added to it (another cancer-causing chemical), one part per million is enough to contaminate our water table. I have heard speakers at the meetings say “if anyone has problems with water we will take care of them.” All of this has a potential for a problem that no one can fix—and at a rate of 600,000 tons per hour of sand being washed!

#3 Traffic—The number of trucks to start with was 900 per day, which equals 1,800 trips and now with the plant up-sized to the largest in the nation is way beyond what our bedroom town can put up with. There is talk of a pipe which cannot take care of trucks coming from all directions to here. The numbers are usually questionable and we can’t afford to find out the hard way later when it is too late! Remember 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week once it is started and once again the frac sand dust blowing all throughout town.

#4 The quality of our town will be lowered considerably; too many people say they will move. Real estate is already being an issue. A couple of house starts are on hold because of it, property values will go down if our town ends up with this cancer sand and bad water stigma. We cannot afford to let our town be ruined by this sand plant! We all lose and the oil company will take huge profits from here! The proposed plant location is less than one mile from our school, which has caused concerns from parents who have voiced their opinions to the school board. The St. Charles township voted it down 6 months ago. All the negatives to our town outweigh any positives there might be by a huge margin. A few jobs with face mask air respirators or the little monetary gain to our city will not compensate for the devastation of our town forever.

It is interesting to look at the people pushing this monstrosity on us! The mayor—whom I know very well. I don’t know why he is pushing so hard for it! Now it is time for him to be the mayor and do his job. He needs to do what the well-informed people want and what is best for the town, to stay healthy, clean and grow!

City administrator—who does not live here but will have a monetary gain.

City superintendent—does not live here.

City engineer—does not live here.

Jennifer Dessner—who works directly for the sand/oil company and does not live here, gains now and in the future from this.

All the people from the sand/oil company that do not live here and never will—will have a monetary gain.

But THEY ALL THINK THIS WOULD BE VERY GOOD FOR US. Does this have a smell???

The petitions will continue to be collected and the results of more than 80% will not change—only the number will grow! The people have spoken through a well-educated decision gathered with this huge margin! All that is left for this mayor and council to do is to propose an ordinance to prohibit the mining, loading, unloading, storage, transferring, washing, and processing of industrial silica sand (frac sand) within the city limits of St. Charles, Minnesota.



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