Minnesota-based FREE (Families Resisting Energy Extraction) has launched a community wide initiative called FREE HOUSTON SAND (www.freehoustonsand.com). Families throughout scenic bluff-country in Houston County Minnesota are reaching out to neighbors and contacting their County Commissioners in a heroic effort to stop the impending approval of a new ordinance allowing frac-sand mining throughout the rural county--known for it's natural beauty, world-class trout streams and agriculture. The County Commissioners are likely to vote on the ordinance as early as February 18, 2015. FREE urges residents to attend this meeting at 10 am in the County Building in Caledonia, MN. Demand a ban of frac sand!
Following are some of the groups concerns of the draft ordinance:
- It contains NO provision for monitoring deadly silica dust, a known major cause of lung disease.
- Contains NO PROTECTION of our precious water supply – neither its quality nor its quantity.
- EACH MINE can have 20 acres (15 football fields) of active mining.
- Allows 60,000 cubic yards (81,000 tons) of frac sand to be excavated at EVERY MINE, EVERY YEAR!
- EACH MINE could add 4,000 truckloads of sand per mine, per year on Houston County roads.
- There is NO limit on the number of mines (Fillmore Co. allows only FIVE mines!) Houston could have HUNDREDS!
- Residents will pay for the road maintenance (road agreement with the county will only be required if mines run 30 or more trucks a day — 22 trucks (15 cubic yard trucks) over 180 days can haul 60,000 cubic yards.)
- Provides NO PROTECTION for our beautiful bluffs.
- Provides NO PROTECTION of your investment in your home (home values decrease up to 30% within a mile of a mine, that is if anyone would want to buy it.)
- "Grandfathered" mines (Houston County has 130 of them) will NOT be required to follow most of the regulations.
- Contains NO provisions for enforcement of what little regulation it does contain – The planning commission chair, Dan Griffin said, “It’s the Board’s responsibility to enforce it.”
FREE (Families Resisting Energy Extraction) is committed to helping the residents of Houston County keep their beautiful region safe from this harmful industry that has brought hardship and destruction to neighboring counties in Wisconsin. "Free Houston Sand.com" is an educational effort to help residents and county officials alike learn more about the dangers of frac sand mining--from health concerns to landscape destruction, home value reductions and transportation dangers from increased truck traffic and rail transport. FREE urges the Commissioners to ban frac sand mining in Houston County.