From: Steve Schild
In an interview aired Wednesday, Feb. 20, on KTCA-TV, Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski said two things about frac sand that demand correction.
First, Drazkowski said there’s been “hysteria” among citizens skeptical of the frac-sand industry. I haven’t seen anything remotely resembling hysteria. I’ve seen citizens who have pored through page after page of ordinance proposals and conditional use permits and other documents and come up with specific, detailed questions—often questions that officials have been unable to answer. If that kind of citizen participation is hysteria, give me more of it.
Second, Drazkowski said there’s no need for the state to get involved in regulating frac sand, because local units of government are able to take care of it. Yet, the Star-Tribune reports that in Feb. 19 hearings at the state Capitol, Houston County commissioners, city councilors from Red Wing and Wabasha, and township officials from Fillmore and Goodhue counties “all voiced support for more state study and a moratorium on the permitting of new frac sand mines and facilities.”
Likewise, Winona’s assistant city planner Carlos Espinosa told Minnesota Public Radio that “cities simply don’t have the staff to handle air quality concerns. Cities typically don’t deal with air quality. The scientists that have the expertise to create the standards that are needed are at the state level.”
The MPR report adds that “Espinosa is not alone in his concerns. From Red Wing and Wabasha to Preston and St. Charles, local officials say they have struggled to sort through frac sand mining issues that go beyond their city or county limits. Chief among them are the effects of mining on ambient air quality, water quality and regional transportation.”
In other words, according to the local officials themselves, Drazkowski is just plain wrong.