Draft silica sand mine standards get mixed reviews

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A draft set of model standards for regulating Minnesota’s silica sand mining industry got mixed reviews at its first public airing.

The nonbinding standards are meant to give local governments tools they can use for drafting their own ordinances on silica sand, which is used by oil and gas drillers for hydraulic fracturing.

But several southeastern Minnesota residents told an Environmental Quality Board panel Wednesday they wanted the guidelines go further by showing communities how to ban sand mining altogether.

In contrast, Peder Larson of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council said the guidelines seem more focused on stopping projects than helping local officials make better decisions.

The public comment period runs through Jan. 13 but the EQB staff is looking into extending the deadline because of the upcoming holidays.

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