Minnesotans are putting up a great fight against uncontrolled expansion of frac sand mining in Minnesota. Methods being used range from inspiring acts of civil disobedience, to online petitions, to extensive and detailed testimony to the Environmental Quality Board, to the hiring of a capable mainstream lobbyist at the Legislature. Busloads of people from Southeastern Minnesota have appeared in St. Paul several times. A great deal of technical information has been collected.
The battles are being fought in cities, townships, counties, the state, and nationally. So far, the results at local levels are mixed, but at the Minnesota Legislature mining interests are prevailing. Why? The mining people have the automatic support of essentially all Republican legislators, plus a strong segment of the DFL traditionally associated with mining interests. They’ve been softening up the Legislature on this issue for years. Governor Dayton is notoriously indifferent to environmental concerns and subservient to mining interests.
The surviving helpful measure before the Legislature would disallow frac sand mining within 5,000 feet of fragile springs, trout streams and groundwater tables. It’s being promoted by Trout Unlimited and has the support of the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources and Governor Dayton. (But Dayton met with mining representatives yesterday while reportedly refusing to meet with anti-sand representatives.)
Strib editorial: “ Minnesota Legislature must protect trout streams”
OpEd from Trout Unlimited: “ Minnesota waters need clearer regulation”
A key Senate vote on this is expected today, Friday. Yet, Governor Dayton is considered the key person. Without really strong support from him, success is unlikely. It will likely require a substantial outpouring of public sentiment to get him to maintain a strong stand in favor of protecting waters. He needs to insist on it, not just nominally support it. Please contribute to that outpouring.
Lots of action alerts are circulating. Here is one from Trout Unlimited:
Governor Dayton is being intensely lobbied by industry to retreat from his support for substantive setbacks and to instead settle for toothless studies and rubber stamp permits. He needs to hear from you tonight and tomorrow morning, especially via his Facebook page. Urge him to stand up for average folks and stand behind his quote in today�s paper “I strongly support that position [Schmit�s one-mile setback] and will do everything I can in conference committee to get it enacted.C
Contact Governor Dayton and encouragement him not to waiver
Thank him for supporting the one-mile setback, and the setback to 25 feet above the water table, proposed by Sen. Schmit. Urge him not to waiver in his support and explain that environmental review is not equivalent to substantive setbacks, and should not be acceptable to him. A permitting program without strong standards is similarly weak and unacceptable.
The best chance to actually reach him is to contact him is via his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GovMarkDayton
You can also try calling Governor Dayton at 651-201-3400, or toll free at 1-800-657-3717.
He also has an e mail form: http://mn.gov/governor/contact-us/form/
[He also has an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org]
“The critical vote in St. Paul on the amendment protecting trout streams and groundwater in SE Minnesota from the frac sand industry will likely come sometime between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm today. We’ve been losing by a single vote. Gov Dayton’s support is critical, but he’s hearing from industry how great frac-sand mining will be for MN’s economy.”
Thank you for acting.