Saturday, April 4, 2015

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men, or greedy interests, skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.” 
Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Tuesday, 3 March is when the Houston County Commissioners will take their final vote on frac sand mining

Dear Friends,
I am writing with an urgent appeal, the background of which is below. In essence, this coming Tuesday, 3 March is when the Houston County Commissioners will take their final vote on frac sand mining in Houston County. In spite of their vote FOR a ban two weeks ago, they now seem to be back-pedalinig toward ordinances which will do no good in truly regulating the industry. (For example, enforcement language indicates that the County "may" take actions if violations occur, not that it "may," "shall" or "will.")
Though many of you do not live in Houston County, we are trying to get as large a turnout as possible at 8:30 for a rally and at 9:00 for the Commissioners' Meeting, at the Houston County Courthouse in Caledonia, on Tuesday, March 3.

We are looking for people from within an hour radius to come.

If you cannot come, are there persons whom you could telephone to come? Do you have friends or neighbors in Houston County whom you could contact about this? Time is of the essence.
Finally, we are also looking for people to call or write to Commissioners Walter and Schuldt. If you live outside Houston County, you should try to include an angle that states your proximity, interest, or relationship to Houston County.
Please feel free to forward this email widely, and please feel free to contact me with any questions. I am aware that there are a few persons on this list whose opinions on frac sand I do not know. If this has gone to you in error, please accept my apology. Only the best intentions were intended.
With many thanks for your consideration, Drue Fergison

Houston County Commissioners Backpedaling on Frac Sand Mining Ban 

At their Feb 24th meeting, Houston County Commissioners backpedaled on the commitment they made the week before to ban frac sand mining in the County.

On February 18th, the Houston County Board voted unanimously to add language to the draft mining ordinance that would ban frac sand mining. That decision was made after a three-hour Public Hearing during which hundreds of County residents turned out to overwhelmingly voice their opposition to the mining of silica sand for use in hydraulic fracking.

Since then the County Board has been pressured by the mining industry and its local allies to abandon that commitment.  It appears a majority of the Board, Steve Schuldt, Teresa Walter and Judy Storlie, now favor allowing frac sand mining instead of a ban. (

Following a controversial Public Comment period last Tuesday, Commissioners discussed regulating frac sand mining in the County instead of prohibiting it. This development comes despite the fact that Houston County Attorney Sam Jandt advised the Commissioners that a ban on frac sand mining could legally be passed and defended in Court.

During the contentious Public Comment period, Charlie Wieser from La Crescent again attempted to bully the Board into rejecting the ban. Wieser, whose brothers Brian and Jeff, and other family members are heavily involved in the frac sand mining industry, again threatened that the County would be sued if the Commissioners passed a ban. (See a video of his comments and frequent updates at

Please contact Commissioners Schuldt and Walter before the Tuesday, March 3rd showdown vote!
               Teresa Walter 895-2446 or
               Steve Schuldt 724-3639 or

Tell them you want a ban on frac sand mining. Tell them that you do not believe their argument that regulations will protect our county from the destruction of frac sand mining.  

Please try to attend our “Ban the Sand” rally this Tuesday at 8:30 at the County Courthouse before the Commissioners’ meeting at 9:00.

Ken Tschumper
Houston County Government Accountability Project