Frac sand mining: Could it happen here?

Due to a rapid increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in domestic oil and gas production, the pure silica sand used in the process has become a valuable commodity.

Minnesota is home to extensive silica sand deposits, especially along the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. Some of these deposits are located at or near the surface in Washington County.

Mining for frac sand is a complex and contentious issue. Concerns about intense truck traffic, water pollution and health impacts from silica dust have been pitted against energy independence, jobs and economic stimulus.

The White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church in Mahtomedi will host a free information seminar on frac mining from 7 to 8:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29. Refreshments will be served before the event, from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

Learn about frac sand mining from individual, community, regulatory, business and public policy viewpoints.

Presenters will include  Fred Harding of the Maiden Rock (Wis.) Concerned Citizens, St. Charles Mayor Bill Spitzer, DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr, District 43A Representative Peter Fischer and Minnesota Industrial Sand Council Executive Director Dennis Egan.

They will be followed by a panel discussion, with audience questions, moderated by former WCCO TV anchorman Don Shelby.

Because of limited parking, carpooling is strongly recommended. This event is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church Climate Change Committee, Izaak Walton League, River Valley Action, Mahtomedi Area Green Initiative, St. Andrew’s Environmental Stewardship Team, Friends of Washington County and the St. Croix River Association.

White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church is located at 328 Maple St. in Mahtomedi. For more information, contact lwvwhitebearlakemn@gmail.com.

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