LWV puts focus on sand mining issue

Silica sand mining has been controversial in southern Minnesota and it is the subject of a recently-completed report by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.

The League of Women Voters ABC invites the public to attend its June program at Andover City Hall’s Senior Center Monday, June 10 for a presentation by Jeff Smyser from the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.

Social time and refreshments are at 6 p.m., followed by the program and discussion at 6:30 p.m.

Smyser will share information from the board’s recent report on silica sand that was finalized in March.

The report provides background on silica sand and its use in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, method to extract oil and natural gas from oil bearing shale and limestone.

Although hydraulic fracturing is not occurring in Minnesota, large silica sand resources are located in south central and southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

The demand for sand for hydraulic fracturing has resulted in many new mining and processing plants being submitted to local and state government agencies.

Issues covered in the report on silica sand include potential impacts on local and state economies and potential impacts to the landscape, natural resources and health of residents in the areas of the sand mines.

According to Katherine Whelchel of the LWV ABC, the report is objective and neither pro- nor anti-silica sand mining.

It is available on the Environmental Quality Board’s website at eqb.state.mn.us.

Smyser joined the Environmental Quality Board a year ago. For the past 20 years, he’s been a land use planner in federal, state, county and municipal government and has managed or contributed to numerous environmental reviews.

He earned his master’s degree in planning from the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Andover City Hall’s Senior Center is located at 1685 Crosstown Blvd. N.W. Enter the city hall parking lot from Crosstown Boulevard and proceed to the end of the parking lot.

For additional information, contact Whelchel at [email protected]. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.