Winona County Public Hearing on June 30 to add frac sand ban language to their ordinance.

News Stories on the hearing regarding a BAN of industrial frac sand mining in Winona County:

Rochester Post Bulletin: Crowd gathers to hear Winona's proposed frac sand ban

Winona Daily News: Winona Daily News:Debate Takes Center Stage

KTTC - TV Rochester, MN: Winona County Planning Commission Holds Public Hearing

Congratulations on moving this issue forward, Winona County residents

Anti frac sand rally held at La Crosse Center

WXOW-TV 19 (ABC-TV) Posted: May 10, 2016 9:04 PM CST Updated: May 10, 2016 9:04 PM  

The group Frac Sand Insider is holding its annual conference at the La Crosse Center this week, amid growing opposition to the industry.

The conference consists of several keynote speakers as well as products and services available to those in the industry.

On Tuesday, a Wisconsin Appeals Court voted to uphold a Trempealeau County decision denying a permit to open a new sand mine for use of hydraulic fracking.

Anti frac sand advocates rallied outside the La Crosse Center on Tuesday night, voicing their concern and outrage over the industry's use of frac sand to help get oil and natural gas out of the ground.

"We're the people that live in this beautiful driftless area and we absolutely have the right to decide what happens here and it's our right and duty to protect ourselves from unwanted trespass," Laila Johnson, of Community Rights GroundWork said.

VIDEO: Protests at frac sand meeting in Lacrosse

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Dozens rally outside La Crosse Center against frac sand mining

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT- CBS NEWS) - Dozens gathered outside the La Crosse Center Tuesday for a rally against frac sand mining.

Frac sand mining is the mining of sand, which is used in the fracking process to get oil and natural gas out of the ground.

There are currently regulations in the industry but one rally organizer said they aren't good enough and that is why they are calling for a ban.

“The experience, especially here in Wisconsin over the last 5-10 years, is that regulation on any level, whether a lot or a little doesn't seem to work. The mining companies always violate the regulations and they push ahead,” said Ken Tschumper, member of Houston County Protectors.

There may be some obstacles when it comes to completely banning frac sand mining because of state law but one rally goer said it's time government officials listen to what the people want.


Rally this Tues. May 10 to Ban Frac Sand and Oppose the Industrial Frac Sand Conference in La Crosse, WI


F.R.E.E. (Families Resisting Energy Extraction – has joined an alliance of groups to rally against frac sand mining!

What: Rally to Ban Industrial Frac Sand Mining and Address Climate Change

When: Tuesday, May 10 @ 5:00 p.m. (arrive between 3 and 5)

Where: La Crosse Center / main entrance


  • The national frac sand mining industry is having a conference in La Crosse May 10-11!

  • Large scale frac sand mining poses many dangers to the environment, health, road safety and more. Protect our unique Driftless Region!

See what the industry is planning at their national conference to push more frac sand mining:conference (schedule).

Groups Involved in this effort to warn residents of the dangers of industrial frac sand mining: Houston County Protectors, Land Stewardship Project, Citizens Against Silica Mining (CASM), Coulee Region Climate Alliance, Save the Hills Alliance, Madison Action for Mining Alternatives, Families Resisting Energy Extraction (F.R.E.E.), Concerned Chippew Citizen, and more.

See what the industrial frac sand mining industry is up to with their Frac Sand Insider  conference (schedule).

Alliance/RALLY Event Contacts:  Doug Nopar, Land Stewardship Project 507-523- 3366

Ken Tschumper, Houston County Protectors 507-894-4248

Stand up! Rally Ban Frac Sand!  See you there!




Anti-frac coalition calls for mining ban, plans rally at industry conference

May 9, 2016 By Chris Hubbuch, La Crosse Tribune

Calling silica sand a direct and indirect threat to health, community and the environment, representatives from more than a dozen organizations called for a ban on frac sand mining Monday, the eve of an industry conference in La Crosse.

“Frac sand is a dangerous business on many levels,” said Pat Wilson, chairman of the Coulee Region Sierra Club chapter.

The fine-grained silica sands prevalent across western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota have long been mined for industrial use, but recent advances in a gas and oil drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing created enormous demand for the sand, which is used to open cracks in underground rocks.

Full article here

Wisconsin frac sand industry weathering economic storm, looking for hope in rebounding oil prices

Contrary to some opinions, the industrial frac sand mining industry is not continuing on a down-turn. It's a cyclical industry.

Read more in today's La Crosse Tribune


Dogged by low oil prices, Wisconsin’s once-booming frac sand mining industry is down but not out.

An industry trade magazine will host a two-day conference next week in La Crosse where the goal is to provide practical knowledge — along with hope that oil prices will eventually rebound and North Dakota drillers will again buy their fine-grained sand.

Even as layoff notices have become a nearly monthly occurrence at Wisconsin sand mines, the frac sand industry is poised for a rebound.

“We’re still here,” said Marty Lehman, president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association. “We’ve been through this before. It’s a cyclic industry.”

Full Article: 

Report Finds a Winona County Frac Sand Ban has Strong Legal Justification

Regulating Through Permits Fails to Protect County & Poses Bigger Legal Risks, Analysis Finds

LEWISTON, Minn. — Minnesota law does not prevent imposing a total ban on frac sand mining, processing and transportation operations in Winona County, according to a new legal analysis released today by the Land Stewardship Project (LSP). The analysis, “Legal and Practical Considerations in Support of a Zoning Ban on Frac Sand Operations in Winona County: A Review of Minnesota Statutes, Case Law, and County Policy,” was written by attorney Leili Fatehi and documents why a ban on any new frac sand mining, processing and transportation operations is by far the most appropriate policy for Winona County to adopt.

Read the press release from Land Stewardship Project here

Read the full 50 page report here

Ed Walsh: Winona County has solid legal authority to ban frac-sand mining

Winona Daily News- By Ed Walsh, La Crescent Mar 15, 2016

My wife and I fell in love with the Upper Mississippi River Valley during our first visit in 1972. After many more wonderful visits and family vacations to the valley, in 1996 we were privileged to be able to purchase a beautiful farm in Winona County. Although our primary home and my law practice were then located in suburban Chicago, we always knew that we would ultimately transition our lives to Winona County, and we proudly did so in 2013.

Since 1996, in anticipation of spending the rest of our lives in one of the most beautiful geographic regions in the world, we embarked on a mission of land stewardship. We reforested, by direct seeding, more than 100 acres of invasive weed-infested blufftop land into vibrant walnut and oak forests. We transformed unused pasture land into native plant, prairie grass and wildflower fields. As a result, we have seen a massive proliferation of butterflies, song birds, owls, hawks and, just last year, a pair of nesting American bald eagles who produced three chicks. They have returned this spring.

With this historical background of stewardship and gratitude for the splendor of the Upper Mississippi Valley, I have taken a keen personal and legal interest in the recent growing controversy over the issue of frac sand mining in Winona County. For the past 38 years my law firm and I have represented two suburban Chicago municipalities; one has a population exceeding the size of Winona County. This experience and defending our municipal clients in numerous complex zoning litigation lawsuits has allowed me to confidently understand that the Winona County commissioners have the solid legal authority to completely ban frac sand mining operations within the county.

This past week I was pleased and reassured to read the legal opinion of the Winona County Attorney on this issue. She advised the county commissioners that they possess the established legal authority to prohibit frac sand mining operations in the county. I understand, however, that there are, perhaps, some commissioners who would prefer to regulate, rather than prohibit, frac sand mining. For numerous legal, health, safety and economic reasons, regulation, rather than a complete prohibition, would not be in the best interests of the county or its residents.

Minnesota state statutes and case law from Minnesota, other states, and federal courts strongly support the opinion of our county attorney and indicate that courts would uphold the authority of Winona County to completely ban frac sand mining operations through zoning. Sadly, however, opponents of a zoning ban often, without legal knowledge, experience or authority, use the “threat of litigation” against the county as an argument against a legal ban.

The hypothetical and meritless “threat of litigation” should not discourage the commissioners from moving forward with an ordinance prohibiting frac sand mining. In arguing against legal zoning ordinance bans, proponents of frac sand mining speciously misconstrue the law to suggest that ban ordinances would violate constitutional private property rights of property owners affected by the ban and be struck down by courts. All of these assertions are misleading, inaccurate and legally unsound.

Furthermore, in the unlikely event the county is sued, it is a member of the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, and the MCIT would provide the County with skilled and experienced attorneys to defend the litigation, at no significant expense or risk to the county.

On the contrary, in the event the county elects to allow and “regulate” frac sand mining, the monetary and personnel expense to the county will be significant. Regulation will require the county to hire additional employees to be sure the mines are complying with county zoning regulations. Additionally, frac sand mining operations will generate significant increased truck traffic. The Environmental Assessment Worksheets for the proposed Yoder and Dabelstein mines in Winona County indicate that mining activities from those two operations alone are expected to produce up to 1,200 truck trips per day on county roads. The resulting significant wear and tear on county roads and bridges will necessitate costly increased maintenance on our already stressed roadway system.

There are many additional health, safety and environmental reasons why the commissioners should completely ban frac sand mining. By doing so, our elected commissioners would protect and promote the health and safety of their constituents and preserve our geographic jewel.

Sadly, however, opponents of a zoning ban often, without legal knowledge, experience or authority, use the “threat of litigation” against the county as an argument against a legal ban.

Full article here

Frac Sand Sentinel Updates

Frac Sand Sentinel provides current updates on news and information about frac sand mining in the upper midwest.

Following are some recent posts:

Frac Sand Sentinel Issue #67 - March 17, 2016
Time for oral or written comments on draft permits for non-metallic mining in Wisconsin coming up!

Frac Sand Sentinel Issue #66 - March 13, 2016

Is change on the horizon for the industry?

Frac Sand Sentinel Issue #65 - March 10, 2016
Sifting the Future: The Ecological, Agricultural, and Health Effects of Frac Sand Mining in Wisconsin: Thursday, April 21st – 6:00 p.m. The Plaza, Eau Claire, WI

Board made two crucial decisions in 2015

  • Houston County News. By Justin Zmyewski District 2 Commissioner
  • Mar 16, 2016

It has been a year (Feb. 18, 2015) since the widely publicized and historic public hearing was held fundamentally addressing the issue of frac sand mining in Houston County. It has been said that it may have been the largest turnout for any public hearing in the history of the county. For nearly three hours, the board of commissioners heard testimony from person after person who called for a ban on industrial frac sand mining. People from all walks of life, including a Catholic nun, voiced their opinion. When it was all said and done, it was no secret that more than 90 percent of the people who spoke were in favor of a ban on industrial frac sand mining in Houston County.

Full article here