From: Kay Shaw
At the Winona County Board meeting on June 4, Commissioner Marcia Ward said that the Fillmore County Board had recently approved the Rein mine for expansion from 18 to 50 acres, and did so without a room full of people voicing opposition. The implication is that the Fillmore County citizens did not object to the frac sand mines in their area. We have friends in Fillmore County who have been very active in opposing frac sand mines there, and we were told that the reason few people were at that meeting is that they were not allowed to speak. Throughout the permitting process, there were many comments from citizens, professionals, and state agencies like the MPCA and MDH voicing concerns about the mine related to water and the karst geology of the area, as well as other problems. We need to have facts from our commissioners, not inaccurate impressions. The other problem with that situation is that our county should not make decisions based on what another county does, unless there is a direct relationship that affects our county.
My other concern with the approval of the Nisbit mine is one that affects us directly. We live a quarter of a mile from the Hemker processing facility, and the trucks from the Nisbit mine will be hauling sand there, down Highway 14 and turning left onto Goodview Road. We often see trucks now coming from Wisconsin, three in a row, turning right onto Goodview Road, and sometimes waiting on the road for a truck to leave the facility. There is no way local traffic can get around that. Adding the trucks from the Nisbit mine is going to produce an impossible traffic jam, and further damage the badly rutted road between Highway 14 and the facility. Our only hope required TIA will put some limits on the number of trucks going to that facility, and will provide funds to repair the road.
Although the Nisbit mine has been approved, citizens still have many questions about the effects of this decision.