From: Marie Kovecsi
Our City Council is working hard to complete the regulations needed to balance the impacts of the frac sand industry with citizen health and safety. City Staff are on record asking State agencies for assistance. “Cities simply don’t have the staff to handle air quality concerns.” (MPR interview, Feb 18, 2013) The Council meeting of Feb 19, 2013 included a resolution requesting immediate state actions to establish and enforce state standards for the frac sand industries. This was passed unanimously.
Sen Schmit (Red Wing, Wabasha and parts of Winona County) has introduced a Bill (SF No 786) proposing an intensive state study of the impact of the frac sand industries. Rep Hansen has a companion bill in the House. Minnesota Department of Health is researching the effects of silica sand in ambient air. These activities will help local Governments make better decisions.
Winona City Council has the opportunity to address air quality by requiring local frac sand industries to install air monitoring devices. We would then know the current conditions of our air particulates. We would be ready to use information from the MDH research (expected June 2013) and any state studies.
We need this information about our air quality to protect our health. Winona is in a valley and our air does nor clear easily. We currently have the 13th highest amount of diesel particulates of Minnesota’s 87 counties. I am asking our council and mayor to NOT experiment with our health and air quality. Require air monitors for all frac sand industries and begin our study.