Companies looking to mine frac sand in Minnesota would need to get approval from the Department of Natural Resources. The requirement was part of an environment budget bill passed by the Legislature on Saturday night.
Forty percent of Minnesota's lakes and rivers are too polluted to fish or swim in. Minnesota's current approach to water cleanup is not working effectively, and a measure is expected to pass in the state Legislature to ensure better accountability.
Legislation that would prohibit frac sand mining within a mile of a trout stream or spring in southeastern Minnesota would prevent at least 10 proposed frac sand mines in the region from being developed, show an MPR News analysis.
The measure was approved despite warnings from industry officials that the legislation would stifle job growth and put Minnesota at a competitive disadvantage with its neighbor, Wisconsin.
Opponents of the new mining process packed a legislative hearing to urge Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers to regulate the sand mining industry. But industry officials say such regulations will limit job growth and create unnecessary burdens on them.
State lawmakers will hold hearings beginning this week to address the fast-growing frac sand industry and its effect on Minnesota. Although local lawmakers are grappling with how to zone and regulate the industry, rules differ widely throughout the state.
House Speaker Paul Thissen said last week that he expected a "robust debate" on energy policy in the state Legislature this session. We'll start the conversation about what we can expect from lawmakers
(The Daily Circuit,