Sunday, April 28, 2013

speak to Governor Dayton directly

An opportunity to speak to Governor Dayton directly. We can share rides.  
Please let me know if you can go.  507/467-2157
Wishing you well,
On Apr 26, 2013, at 1:02 PM, wrote:
Hi. I just heard from Bobby King. On Gov. Dayton's website he is slated to have a public meeting on Monday, April 29 More...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chair (Tomassoni ?) said that they have mining up north, and the trout fishing is fine.

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  In yesterday's hearing, after testimony from DNR Commissioner Landwehr about how valuable our trout streams are and the need to protect them with a set-back for sand mines, the Chair (Tomassoni ?) said that they have mining up north, and the trout fishing is fine.

 We continue to have opportunities to speak for what we value.

Please call Governor Dayton today and be sure to mention that you want him to "Use his executive authority to enact a moratorium to protect the Department of Natural Resources Paleozoic Plateau Ecological Section."   

He has the authority to do this for a geological region but not a political region. He can do this.

His number is 1-800-657-3717

Sen. Matt Schmit's bill SF  796 sections 50 and 51 were defeated yesterday, with even some dems--Tomassini, Saxhaug and Sparks.

Section 50 covered the 1 mile setback from trout streams, springs, fens and class 2a water. Again, this is within the DNR Paleozoic Plateau Ecological Section. Section 51 dealt with no DNR water use permits within the Dept. of Natural Resources Paleozoic Plateau Ecological Section in connection with frac sand mining or processing. Also, Within the areas of the Paleozoic Plateau Ecological Section no mining, etc. within 25 feet of our water table.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

No EIS for Rein

Aren't we lucky to live in a county where our commissioners are so far-sighted? They believe, because oversight is so important they fund it generously, they'll be able to monitor Rein and make sure he's being a good frac sand miner (how's that for a resume entry?). How cool is that?!

- not Bonita

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Action Needed to Support Senate Bill

Action Needed to Support Senate Bill that Protects Southeast MN Trout Streams from Frac Sand Mining  
Bill to be heard as early as Wednesday, April 24, in Senate Environment Finance Committee
Working with Minnesota Trout Unlimited, Sen. Matt Schmit has included language in Senate File 796 protecting southeast Minnesota trout streams from frac sand mining and processing. SF 796 is the Omnibus Game and Fish Policy Bill and Sen. Schmit is the author. The provisions in the bill say that in southeast Minnesota:
  • No frac sand mining is allowed within a mile of any spring, groundwater seepage area, fen, designated trout stream, class 2a water or any tributary of class 2a water or designate trout stream.
  • The DNR cannot issue groundwater appropriation permits for frac sand-related activity, including frac sand processing.
  • Mining frac sand within 25 feet of the water table is prohibited.
The bill applies these provisions in an area defined by the DNR as the Paleozoic Plateau (222) Ecological Section. This area generally encompasses Minnesota's five southeast counties. A detailed map is on the DNR’s website HERE.   

These provisions protecting trout streams would help dramatically in limiting the harm frac sand mining can do in southeast Minnesota and would go into effect immediately. As reported in a Rochester Post-Bulletin article, Gov. Mark Dayton has weighed in against supporting a moratorium at this time. Without a moratorium, we need standards in place NOW before any more frac sand mines or processing facilities are established in southeast Minnesota. The provisions in Senate File 796 are a good step in that direction.

TAKE ACTION! Senate File 796's next stop will be in the Senate Environment and Agriculture Finance Committee. It will likely be heard Wednesday, April 24, at noon in Room 107 of the Capitol. If you plan to attend the hearing, please e-mail me at

1.  Call or e-mail members of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Finance Committee and urge them to support these critical provisions protecting trout streams in southeast Minnesota from frac sand mining.
Here is a suggested message for the committee members: “I live in southeast Minnesota. As a member of the Environment and Ag Finance Committee, you will soon be hearing Senate File 796, the Omnibus Game and Fish Policy Bill. This bill has important provisions to protect southeast Minnesota’s trout streams from frac sand mining and processing. The karst topography in southeast Minnesota creates conditions for cold streams and some of the best trout fishing in the country. However, it also allows for these streams to be easily polluted. The state has invested millions in maintaining these trout streams and trout fishing is an important economic industry in our area. Sen. Matt Schmit has included provisions in the bill for southeast Minnesota that prohibit frac sand mining activity within a mile of sensitive trout streams, prohibit groundwater from being used for frac sand mining and processing, and prohibit frac sand mining within 25 feet of the water table. These are common-sense provision needed to protect southeast Minnesota’s trout streams. Please support these provisions and oppose attempts to remove them from the bill.”
Members of the Senate Environment and Agriculture Finance Committee:
2.  Call Governor Dayton at 651-201-3400 or 800-657-3717 or e-mail him HERE.
Here is a suggested message for Gov. Dayton:  “I live in southeast Minnesota and am very concerned about the harm the frac sand industry poses to my community. I was disappointed when you said that you do not support a moratorium on frac sand mining at this time. I believe it is critical that we get strong state standards in place before this industry pollutes the air and water and destroys roads in southeast Minnesota like it has in western Wisconsin. I believe it makes sense to have a moratorium while those state standards are created. However, without a moratorium we must have strong standards for southeast Minnesota now. Sen. Matt Schmit has included provisions in Senate File 796 for southeast Minnesota that prohibit frac sand mining activity within a mile of sensitive trout streams, prohibit groundwater from being used for frac sand mining and processing, and prohibit frac sand mining within 25 feet of the water table. While more is ultimately needed, these standards are a good start and I would like you to publicly support them and work for their passage. Without a moratorium we need standards like this in place now."

Update on other key frac sand bills. Both the Senate and House Omnibus Environment and Agriculture Finance Bills contain frac sand provisions. Senate File 1607 and House File 976 have both passed off the Senate and House floors. They are now headed for a conference committee to have the differences reconciled. The conference committee members have not yet been named. As soon as this happens, look for an LSP action alert.
SF 1607 has the stronger frac sand provisions. The following provisions are only in SF 1607:
  • For one year from passage of bill, all frac sand mines that will be over 20 acres in size and at least 10 feet deep require an environmental assessment worksheet.
  • The Environmental Quality Board must amend the environmental review rules for frac sand facilities to take into account increased activity and concerns over the size of specific operations.
  • Local governments can extend local moratoriums to March 1, 2015, no matter how long they have already been in place.  
Both bills contain provisions that require the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to adopt rules for the control of particulate emissions from frac sand mines, the Minnesota DNR to adopt rules for reclamation of frac sand mines, and for the Minnesota Department of Health to adopt air quality standards. Both require that state agencies create a technical team to help local government and to create model ordinances for local governments to use.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Decision on Need for EIS for Rein

The Draft Findings of Fact & Conclusions Re: Decision on Need for EIS for Rein's is on the Fillmore County Zoning website. 

This is dated to be presented at Tuesday's (April 23) Commissioners' Meeting 9:00 am, Preston Courthouse.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gov Dayton is doing another public meeting

   Meeting with Mark

Monday, April 22 at 6:00pmAlbert Lea High School Auditorium
2000 Tiger Lane
Albert Lea, Minn.

Gov Dayton is doing another public meeting like the one he did Rochester in Albert Lea.

  It would be good to have a group there to ask him to support the language in SF- 796 creating setback from trout streams, no mining within 25 feet of water table and no water appropriations for southeast Minnesota and for strong STATE action in general.

  At his meeting in Mankato last week there were a crowd of employees from Jordan Sands who spoke against raising taxes on the frac sand and against a moratorium 

  Dayton only talked about support “for ways to help local governments make responsible decisions.”  He needs to know we want MUCH more than that.   

  Reply if you can. It would be good to have at least 10 people there.

Monday, April 15, 2013

we need to do something very very soon!

The legislative session is drawing to a close, and things are moving  quickly. Sen. Mat Schmit's bill SF 786 which asked for the things we wanted - a GEIS, a moratorium, state permitting and standards is probably dead.

Sen. Schmit has another bill, SF 796 the Game and Fish Bill, which calls for setbacks for frac sand mining from springs and  trout streams, and limits how close mining can come to the water table. It is a good bill and is receiving support (and being resisted by industry). It will be heard the week of 4/22 in the Sen. Environment & Ag Finance Committee.

The bill that is gaining traction is HF 976. The industry likes this bill and it  does NOT address our concerns. It sets up a model ordinance and a technical team and could later be held up to say "See, we did something".  It has neither strong state pollution standards nor funding by the industry to pay for permanent damages it will make to our fragile karst region.

What you can do today.

Call or email Gov. Mark Dayton (800-657-3717 or google him for his email form) and tell him: (in your own words)
We in S.E. Minnesota need you to be engaged in the frac sand issue before it's too late.
We're disappointed that you didn't support a moratorium and wish you would change your mind.
We need strong standards enacted in this session.
HF 976 the EQB model ordinance does not address our concerns.
Please support SF 796 the Game and Fish bill, which will help protect our ground and surface water.

A call or email to Sen Schmit (651-296-4264 would be good as well. He will be getting a lot of pressure from here on out. Thank him for all his work on SF 786 and tell him how important SF 796 is to you and why, and encourage him to hang in there.

Thanks for your help.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What could possibly go wrong? Right?

 posted on "go left" Facebook page  

This is one of our last chances to be heard before the legislation session ends!!!!

 On short-notice, please spread the word to phone in  and show up if you can.
Wishing you well,
Here we go again. It's important. Let Amanda know if you can join us. 


This is one of our last chances to be heard before the legislation session ends!!!!

JUST IN!!!  
Travel to the capitol (see below) or make calls to the:

Tomorrow, testimony will be heard on both SF786 (the one we like) and SF1018.  The committee is NOT going to vote, but will however lay them over for the omnibus bill.  The OMNIBUS hearing will be held the following day, Thursday April 11th at 12 - 2:30pm and  6pm -?.   
Need for a GEIS:
Local governments need solid, research-based information on which to base their regulations. The state doesn't have this information. They need to study the topic to get the information.

Need for a moratorium:
Local governments need the time to get the information and integrate it into their regulations.

The frac sand industry in Wisconsin has destroyed rural communities and flouted pollution regulations. In a recent article, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources official said he “expects 90 percent of companies in a regulated industry to comply with rules on their own. But in his visits to a dozen frac sand facilities, [DNR official] Sellers encountered the opposite pattern, and he sent letters of noncompliance to 80 to 90 percent of the sites.”  The article says nearly a fifth of all Wisconsin frac sand facilities were cited for environmental violations last year (La Crosse Tribune: “Growing frac sand industry faces DNR violations, warnings,” March 3, 2013).
I have rented a 14 passenger VAN leaving for the capitol tomorrow.    
VAN Information/Schedule:
To reserve your seat please contact:
Amanda Griggs: 507-896-2165 /
2:15 PM
Barista's Coffee House. (Barista's will open at 6:30 AM)
2:25 PM Rushford 
Lynndyn-Bridge Restaurant (102 West Jessie St.)
3:00 PM Winona 
JC Penney parking lot (Hwy. 61 and Pelzer St.)
3:45 PM Wabasha
City of Wabasha overflow parking lot across from Supervalu
4:30 PM Red Wing 
Target Store parking lot just off Tyler Road on the north side of town
5:30 PM Arrive at the Capitol
6:00 PM Hearing: RM112 Capitol 
Please pack a lunch, as no meal stops are planned.  
We can either come home or stay over night to attend the omnibus bill hearing the next day at 12-2:30?  
Please let AmAndA know what your preference is!!!

(click on this link for member contact informations)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Environment, Economic Development and Agriculture Division
Chair: Sen. David J. Tomassoni
06:00 PM
Room 112 Capitol
S.F. 786 Schmit Silica sand mining provisions; southeastern Minnesota silica sand mining joint powers board authorization.
S.F. 1018 Schmit Silica sand and nonmetallic minerals mining model standards and criteria 
AmAndA S GriGGs

AmAndA S GriGGs

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, April 9) - Commissioner's regular meeting

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  Tomorrow morning (Tuesday, April 9) at the Commissioner's regular meeting there will be a chance to show/speak up to have the Rein sand mine project included in the joint EIS to be done by the EQB.

  Numbers of people attending can matter!

  Zoning Administrator Chris Graves was quoted in the Post-Bulletin (3/21/13) as saying, when the Rein mine got its permit in 2010, "there wasn't a soul that cared,"..."they have been good about reclamation." Although there were 16 public comments to the EAW, the article said, "About a dozen people or governmental agencies commented on the document."------minimizing.

  If you or anyone you know can attend, please encourage it by carpooling.  If people have already spoken, their presence is a solid reminder. If people have not yet spoken, three or four sentences will be enough to build the public record.
  The decision before the Commissioners is to decide if there is
  If so, the law says they must call for an EIS.
  This decision is not to be based on:
  •       Personality of the applicant;
  •       Previous business dealings (aggregate for local roads & projects);
  •       Minimizing serious risks noted by MPCA & State Dept. Health and citizens;
      Hope that we can pass up the chance now to get better information on areas of serious concern, and then, when the inevitable troubles occur, we can "work them out" well enough to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public into a sustainable future.
  Skimming over questions about protecting our aquifer in our fragile and active karst geology does not deal with those questions.   
Harvey and I will have to miss tomorrow's meeting, but shall be grateful for your efforts. 
Thanks for your energy and wishing you well,

We have time to write letters-to-the-editor

 We have time to write letters-to-the-editor before the Commissioners' "decision meeting" on April, 23.  

Letters submitted to the Fillmore County Journal need to be in by Tuesday (April 9) noon to be published on April 15 and spread the message.  

Once you have a letter written, might as well submit to the region's newspapers: Bluff Country Reader, Houston Banner, Winona Daily News, Winona Post, Spring Grove Herald, Rochester Post-Bulletin, Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Brief (125-150 words) letters that mention "our region" or "Bluff Country" are likely to be printed in more papers than if it only refers to "Fillmore County."

We have 2 weeks to impact legislation

We can do this.  Please pass the word along.

A message from save the bluffs....
 We have 2 weeks to impact legislation on frac-sand mining at the MN State Capital. Please share. Please attend. The following dates and times have been confirmed.