Frac sand cities continue to battle - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Frac sand cities continue to battle

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ST.CHARLES/WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) -- They are two cities facing similar issues, and that is how to deal with the booming Frac Sand industry.  St. Charles and Wabasha are both facing the possibility of a frac sand facility coming to town.

What citizens are concerned about are the health risks with free floating frac sand, truck traffic, noise, train traffic, etc.  The sand issue always seems to be swirling in these two towns. Monday night marked a milestone for one and the continued fight against a possible facility in the other.

In Wabasha the city council had one item on their agenda, to deny or require the Superior Sand Systems Inc, a frac sand company, to comply with an environmental assessment worksheet (EAW).  "We have to remove ourselves from this issue and frac sand and the fact that we are simply applying for a trans-loading facility on CP rail property," said Paul VanEijl of Superior Sands.

"Wow. that's really in the wrong direction of where we want to be. Choosing to have a place to live like the city of Wabasha in the bluffs has pulled on the heart strings of every one of us in this room," retorted Wabasha citizen Jay Jussen.

After hearing both sides, the council discussed and ultimately voted down the EAW. The council believes the current Conditional Use Permit already outlines what standards the company would need to comply with.  Therefore there would be no need to slow down the process and back track...

Meanwhile, 40 miles south, a 300-acre plot sits empty.  It's the proposed site of a future frac sand facility on Cherokee Road on the east-bordering edge of St. Charles.  However, one man who has continually fought the sand operation says he's not giving up.   "My biggest concern is 30,000 semi trucks going up and down this street in front of my business. But also impacti8ng the quality of life for our families," said St. Charles resident Fred Troendle.

Troendle is all for business.  He runs his own financial planning shop in downtown St. Charles.  His pickup truck can be seen parked in town displaying the billboard reading 'Stop the Frack Attack.'

On Monday night it was parked in front of Faith Lutheran Church where a meeting was underway for all those opposed to the process.  "I ask you to continue to volunteer your time to walk door to door and speak personally to the residents of St. Charles. I ask you to continue to care as much as you have," announced Troendle to the audience.

St. Charles citizens can continue to see door to door volunteers asking for your stance on the facility in order to get enough presentable data to the city council come that first meeting January.

Troendle claims, 80% of the 60% of the citizens already surveyed are opposed.

As for Wabasha, the Mayor explained, no matter what the outcome, there won't be happy campers.  And all the board can do is act in the best interest for the city.

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