City asks state to help with sand rules
by EMILY BUSS
and SARAH SQUIRES
The fate of the emergency one-year moratorium will be on the table again Tuesday night, as the members of the Winona City Council are expected to cast a final vote that could end the temporary hold on city silica sand businesses. While the moratorium may expire, city leaders hope to enlist the state for help in regulating the growing sand industry.
The council is expected to adopt a resolution of support urging the state to establish standards for frac sand businesses. In September 2012, city leaders adopted a resolution of support for a Generic Environmental Impact Statement, an environmental study that would examine the cumulative effects of the industry across a broad section of the state. The resolution on the table Tuesday would ask the state to develop rules for the industry to address air and water quality concerns. The resolution states, the health impacts, environmental impacts and infrastructure impacts from [silica sand] activities, which cross multi-jurisdictional boundaries, have not been fully studied and analyzed by those state agencies having regulatory expertise regarding such impacts, and further asks for the immediate implementation of state rules, and the enforcement of those rules, for the sand industry.
Members of the council will re-examine language pertaining to a traffic impact analysis (TIA) during their regular meeting. A clarification about the TIA was requested at the last council meeting by councilwoman Pam Eyden, who took issue with how a TIA would be triggered.
I want [the ordinance] to specify that a traffic impact analysis be required [when] heavy truck vehicles from an operation contribute to more than 20 percent of traffic on any local road.
Currently, language requires a TIA to be conducted when an operation creates more than 200 heavy vehicle trips per day and only pertains to routes to and from the site that are not already truck routes.
The proposed new language states, A TIA and road use agreement shall be required for any development subject to a site plan or [conditional use permit] after 1/1/2013 which will generate 200 or more heavy commercial vehicle trips per day at maximum daily operating capacity. An analysis shall be required for projects where heavy commercial vehicles from the operation would contribute more than 20 percent of the traffic on any local street.
If the council agrees on a solution to the TIA, and votes to accept all other recommendations at the meeting Monday, the year-long moratorium on the silica sand industry in Winona would be over. The council meeting will be Tuesday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers of City Hall.