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Minnesota Sands Draft FCO

Minnesota Sands Draft FCO

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Published by Sally Jo Sorensen
Via the Winona Post

The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has issued an order whereby it will take responsibility for overseeing an environmental review of 11 frac sand mines in Winona, Fillmore, and Houston counties proposed by Minnesota Sands. The agency also found that the 11 mine proposals should be considered "phased actions" and, therefore, must be evaluated together in the environmental study.

The order and "conclusions of law" issued by the EQB came after Fillmore and Houston county officials requested that a state agency oversee the environmental study, rather than one of the three counties in which the new mines were proposed. In its order, the EQB asserted that it "has greater expertise in analyzing the potential impacts of the proposed project than Fillmore, Houston, or Winona counties."

Minnesota Sands announced last month it would voluntarily conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on two mines proposed in Winona County known as the Dabelstein and Yoder mine sites. The company later agreed that the EIS, which examines potential environmental, health, and safety impacts of a set of development plans, would cover other mines it had proposed in Fillmore and Houston counties. The two mines proposed in Winona County, along with the Boyum, Dabelstein (separate from the Winona County proposal), Kesler and Wadewitz properties in Fillmore County, as well as the Erickson, Tostenson, Olson, Chapel, and Johnson properties in Houston County, must be studied together in the EIS. The sites are within 12.5 miles of one another.

An EIS is an in-depth environmental study that reviews a set of projects for potential cumulative impact. It also provides an examination of possible health and safety issues that could be generated by planned development, and produces a set of recommendations for mitigating any anticipated negative effects. Several state agencies, along with local activists, have lobbied for the more stringent environmental study.
Via the Winona Post

The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has issued an order whereby it will take responsibility for overseeing an environmental review of 11 frac sand mines in Winona, Fillmore, and Houston counties proposed by Minnesota Sands. The agency also found that the 11 mine proposals should be considered "phased actions" and, therefore, must be evaluated together in the environmental study.

The order and "conclusions of law" issued by the EQB came after Fillmore and Houston county officials requested that a state agency oversee the environmental study, rather than one of the three counties in which the new mines were proposed. In its order, the EQB asserted that it "has greater expertise in analyzing the potential impacts of the proposed project than Fillmore, Houston, or Winona counties."

Minnesota Sands announced last month it would voluntarily conduct an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on two mines proposed in Winona County known as the Dabelstein and Yoder mine sites. The company later agreed that the EIS, which examines potential environmental, health, and safety impacts of a set of development plans, would cover other mines it had proposed in Fillmore and Houston counties. The two mines proposed in Winona County, along with the Boyum, Dabelstein (separate from the Winona County proposal), Kesler and Wadewitz properties in Fillmore County, as well as the Erickson, Tostenson, Olson, Chapel, and Johnson properties in Houston County, must be studied together in the EIS. The sites are within 12.5 miles of one another.

An EIS is an in-depth environmental study that reviews a set of projects for potential cumulative impact. It also provides an examination of possible health and safety issues that could be generated by planned development, and produces a set of recommendations for mitigating any anticipated negative effects. Several state agencies, along with local activists, have lobbied for the more stringent environmental study.

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Published by: Sally Jo Sorensen on Mar 12, 2013
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03/12/2013

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original

 
March
8,
2011
RE:
Draft
Findings
of
Fact,
Conclusions
and
Order
on
Requests
to
Designate
a
DifferentResponsibleGovernmental
Unit
for
Environmental
Review
of
Multiple
Silica
Sand
Projects
Proposed
in
Fillmore,Houston,
and
Winona
Counties
ToWhom
it
May
Concern:
Enclosed
are
draft
findings
of
fact,
conclusions
and
order
on
the
above-referenced
matter.The
draft
findings
of
fact,
conclusions
and
order
reflect
the
EQB
staffs
recommendation.
Theywill,
of
course,
he
revised
as
needed
to
reflect
whatever
decision
is
arrived
atby
the
EnvironmentalQuality
Board.
The
EQB
meetingwill
be
as
follows
March
20,
2013
1:00
to
4:00
p.m.
MPCABoard
Room
520
Lafayette
Road
North
St
Paul,
MN
If
you
have
any
questions
orneed
any
assistance,
please
donot
hesitate
to
contact
meat
651-201-6226.
Sincerely,
Rob
Patton
ExecutiveDirectorEnvironmental
Quality
Board
Enclosure:
Draft
Findings
of
Fact,
Conclusions
and
Order
cc:
Leah
1-ledman,
AssistantAttorney
GeneralDave
Frederickson,
EQB
Chair
Environmental
Quality
hard
520
LAFAYETTE
ROAD
NORTH
ST.
PAUt.,
MN
55155
PHONE:
651.757.2873
WMN.EQB.STATE.MN.US
X\EQB\ENVIRONMENTALREVIEWPROGRAM\RGU
reassignments\2U1
3\Minnesota
Sands
LLQ-FilImore--Houston-Winona
Sdica
Sand
Proects\Draf’t
FCO\Minnesota
Sands
dratiFCO-transininal
docx
 
 1
X:\EQB\ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROGRAM\RGU reassignments\2013\Minnesota Sands LLC-Fillmore--Houston-WinonaSilica Sand Projects\Draft FCO\Minnesota Sands draft FCO-as transmitted.docx
STATE OF MINNESOTAENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY BOARD
In the Matter of Requests to Designate aDifferent Responsible Governmental Unit For Environmental Review of Multiple SilicaSand Projects Proposed by Minnesota Sands,LLC, in Fillmore, Houston, and WinonaCounties
 
FINDINGS OF FACT,CONCLUSIONS OF LAW,AND ORDER 
 The above-captioned matter came before the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board(EQB) at a special meeting on March 20, 2013, pursuant to requests from Fillmore andHouston Counties to designate a different responsible governmental unit (RGU) for silicasand mines proposed by Minnesota Sands, LLC, in Fillmore, Houston, and WinonaCounties.Based upon all of the proceedings herein, the Minnesota Environmental Quality Boardmakes the following:
FINDINGS OF FACT
1.
 
The EQB received a letter from Fillmore County dated February 28, 2013, stating thatMinnesota Sands
, LLC “proposes to operate [silica sand] m
ines in at least thefollowing: Fillmore County at the Boyum, Dabelstein, Kesler, and Wadewitz sites;Houston County at the Erickson site; and Winona County at the Dabelstein and Yoder 
sites.”
 2.
 
The February 28, 2013 Fillmore County letter states that “Fill
more Countyunderstands the need to complete and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) becausethe sites are located in close proximity, span across the three counties, and concern
the same developer.”
 3.
 
The February 28, 2013 Fillmore County letter states, “
[i]n Fillmore County,Minnesota Sands planned to complete separate EAWs for the Boyum, Dabelstein, andKesler sites, but has voluntarily agreed to complete an EIS for their proposed projectsspanning Fillmore, Houston, and Winona Counties. Fillmore County agrees onecomprehensive EIS is appropriate for the Minnesota Sands projects located in all
three counties.”
 4.
 
The February 28, 2013 Fillmore County letter states. “Fillmore County requests the
Environmental Quality Board to designate a State agency to act as the regulatory
government unit (RGU) to prepare an EIS for the Minnesota Sands projects…”
 5.
 
The EQB received a letter from Houston County dated March 5, 2013, stating,
“…Houston County requests the Environmental Quality Board to designate a State

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