Houston County considers permanent ban on sand mining - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Houston County considers permanent ban on sand mining

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CALEDONIA, Minn. (KTTC)--The Houston County Board voted this week to extend a moratorium on new sand mining through March, 2015.

The Houston County Board is working with the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board to study the effects frac sand mining may have on the county's tourism and agriculture industries, as well as the environment.

According to County Commissioner Justin Zmyewski, the board received hundreds of letters from local residents opposed to sand mining in the area.

In the past two years, the northwest part of the county has been considered for several mining sites.  Despite the jobs it might bring to the area, the board says it needs more time to consider the proposals.

"Houston County would like to err on the side of caution," said Zmyewski.  "What we're finding is that few will profit, but many will be impacted.  There are many places in the country where you can find frac sand, there's only one place in the country where you can find Houston County, Minnesota--we'd like to keep it that way."

If the board decides to pass a permanent ban on frac sand mining in Houston County, it would be one of the first counties in Minnesota to ban sand mining.

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