SE Minnesotans Travelling by Bus to St. Paul on Earth Day to Deliver Frac Sand Petition to Gov. Dayton

Poll to be Released April 21 Shows Majority of Minnesotans Oppose Increased Frac Sand Mining & Favor 2-Year Moratorium for SE MN

WINONA, Minn. — Over 6,000 Minnesotans have signed a petition calling on Governor Mark Dayton to enact a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining in southeast Minnesota and to create tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality. Southeast Minnesota residents will be traveling by bus to the Capitol on Earth Day, April 22, for a noon press conference and delivery of the petitions to the Governor.

The Capitol press conference will be in Room 181 of the State Office Building (100 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., St. Paul), with the petition delivery to the Governor’s office to follow. During the press conference, the petition drive and the results of a new statewide poll on frac sand mining will be discussed. There will also be two press conferences along the bus route — one at 7:45 a.m. in Winona, Minn., at City Hall (207 Lafayette Street), and another at 9:40 a.m. in Red Wing at the parking lot of the Red Wing Historic Pottery Place Building (Highway 61).

The Land Stewardship Project launched this petition drive at the Citizens' Frac Sand Summit in Winona on Jan. 18. Marilyn Frauenkron Bayer was at the summit and since then has been working to get signatures from members of her Houston, Minn., community.

"People in our area are eager to sign. Right now we are fighting multiple proposed frac sand mines, so people are very concerned," said Bayer. "Having a regional moratorium makes sense. We have to protect the unique resources in the karst area of southeastern Minnesota."

The Governor has the authority to enact a regional moratorium through the use of the Critical Areas Act. John Wells, who served as strategic planning director for the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board for 25 years, has described in a two-page memo how the power can be used and why the unique threat posed by frac sand mining in the fragile karst geology of southeast Minnesota warrants using it. The Land Stewardship Project presented the memo to the Governor at a December meeting in Winona.

Lynn Schoen, a member of the Wabasha, Minn., city council, believes using the power is imperative to protecting her community and the wider region.

"I think Governor Dayton has laid out a policy that makes a lot of sense. He has said he favors keeping frac sand mining out of the fragile karst area of southeast Minnesota and tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality," Schoen said. "This petition supports that policy and urges the Governor to take action to get us there."

The Land Stewardship Project has commissioned a statewide poll on the frac sand issue. The poll found a majority of Minnesotans oppose an increase in frac sand mining and support a two-year regional moratorium on the activity in southeastern Minnesota. A copy of the poll results, embargoed until 7 a.m. on April 21, is available by contacting the Land Stewardship Project's Bobby King at 612-722-6377 or bking@landstewardshipproject.org.

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