Panel to look at draft silica sand mine standards

Published 9:52 am Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ST. PAUL — A state government panel is ready to get feedback on a new draft set of model standards for regulating the growing silica sand mining industry.

An Environmental Quality Board subcommittee meets today to hear presentations from state agencies involved in preparing the draft standards, which were released Friday. Officials from the industry and local governments as well as activists and citizens will have the chance to comment in person or in writing.

The 168-page report is meant to give local governments a toolbox of approaches they can tailor for their needs as they consider how to regulate the mining, processing and transport of silica sand.

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The oil and gas industry uses silica sand for hydraulic fracturing, and there are significant deposits in southeastern Minnesota and the Minnesota River Valley.