From: Jennifer Dessner
My name is Jennifer Dessner and I work for Minnesota Proppant, LLC, a sand mining company. We have no affiliation with any oil company whatsoever. As is customary in your letter [on Opinion page of Winona Post] and speech, your facts are NOT straight and you continue to lie to the fine people of St. Charles and Winona County by repeating outdated, incorrect information and inflammatory language in order to cloud the truth and frighten people.
Your statements regarding silicosis are vague and undocumented speculation that you have neglected to back up with scientific research, even the statement from the US National Library of Medicine does not give specifics regarding exposure to silica dust but it is clear it takes a great deal of exposure from PM(particulate matter)4 and below to cause harm and it is listed as an occupational risk only. ďThe US EPA determined that mining silica sand only contributed 1% of PM emissions to the ambient air,Ē Frac Sand Mining Facts by Jerry Hanson, Eau Claire Journal. The sand we are proposing to mine is PM10 and above. Silica sand has been mined for decades in the area for many purposes including construction projects, sanding of roads, sandboxes, glass manufacturing, cattle bedding and now frac sand mining. I can assure you our proposal includes every safety and monitoring technology available to not only adhere to state and federal MSHA, OSHA, EPA, DNR, and MNDOT guidelines but surpass them.
Minnesota Proppant LLC has proposed only 150 trucks into the facility per day, which could be avoided altogether if a road were constructed through the industrial park to our site. This may encourage some other new businesses to start up in that empty industrial park: A gas station? A restaurant? A mechanic shop?
The water use issue has been addressed time and time again. The ration [amount] of water has been lessened because of the introduction of the slurry pipeline technology and the constant recycling and cleaning of that water. This also addresses the reduction in truck traffic through town as well as the ambient air quality. Further, filters are used to continually clean the air within the buildings and particulate monitors will be on project site. This is standard procedure in these facilities. Mining is one of the most regulated industries in the United States and is constantly inspected by the regulatory bodies I mentioned above. There is NO danger of any ground water contamination from our proposed plant. Period. The water is processed through a concrete clarifier just like a wastewater treatment plant.
Your math on wash plants is a great deal off. A wash plant can wash 300-600 tons per hour, not 600,000 tons per hour. Again, a ridiculous exaggeration meant to scare people. That would equal over 5 billion tons a year??? Lastly, this will not be a monstrosity. Our footprint will be a fraction of the 300 acre site. It is important you keep that in perspective.
You state that the quality of your town would be lowered considerably. If putting people to work, increasing students in your school, creating tax revenue for your city, stabilizing each citizenís utility bills, adding opportunities for other new businesses to come to St. Charles, and donating money and resources to your town is diminishing it, we know how you view your glass. Perhaps the people who received a holiday meal because of the $1,000 we gave to your food shelf would beg to differ? Perhaps the local truck drivers, electricians, plumbers, road construction workers, large equipment operators, etc. who have been laid off or canít find work would also beg to differ?
You also fail to mention anything regarding the big picture. The truth isófracking of oil wells and natural gas deposits is not going to stop in North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma or Pennsylvania. Whether it is Minnesota Proppant or not, the sand resources are here and will be sought after by those oil and natural gas companies. Perhaps you would prefer a huge company with no local ties to come here and do what they want, when they want, how they want, with no regard for the people of St. Charles? Minnesota Proppant, LLC has seven local owners and one employee. We have followed all the rules. We have taken all concerns of the citizens, politicians, business owners, Amish community, school, and the Concerned Citizens of St. Charles group into consideration and modified our plan several times over to accommodate those concerns. We have doubled the cost of our project to do so. We have purchased a building in your town, paid utilities and taxes. We have eaten in your restaurants, banked in your town, purchased items at your grocery and hardware stores. We have spoken with City leaders to offer help with the construction of ball parks, better technology at your school, river clean-up projects and have joined your Chamber of Commerce. Are those the actions of greed? Are those the actions of people who donít care about the people here? There is money to be made in this business, but isnít that why all of us work? I believe these are the actions of a kind, intelligent group of people who have a dream to build a company they are proud of and provide a service to strengthen our town, county, state and country.