Letter: Extend moratorium to give county time
To the Editor:
On Monday, with the county attorney urging them to do otherwise, the Goodhue County Mining Committee voted against extending the county moratorium on frac sand mining. We voted to be finished, done. The comment was made that we, the mining committee, have seen everything, we know more than the state and more than the public.
An understandable response when asked to do a self-evaluation. The prospect of being done with the frac sand issue is appealing to those who have been buried in it for almost two years.
The sentiment of the committee was that the moratorium should be lifted and we could "tweak" the ordinance after the fact.
We are tired, but I think we are not done. Here is the essence of what the county attorney said.
Local citizens and Sen. Matt Schmit worked hard to give our region the opportunity to delay frac sand mining a little longer. The legislature responded. The industry is being reviewed at the state level and we were given the opportunity to wait for results. To ignore what the legislature did with us in mind is a bad idea.
People don't always appreciate what they have. We live in an environmentally unique setting, in a vibrant, healthy community. The features that comprise our lives can't easily be repaired once they have been damaged.
A neighboring county has asked us to consider the idea of joining them in forming a district along the Great River Road were frac sand mining would not be allowed at all. Currently mining in Goodhue County is restricted, not banned. While the restrictions seem tough to some, they can be manipulated. The potential manipulators have billions of dollars.
Before we lift the moratorium, the county should at least make clear a commitment to protect the scenic beauty and environment in specific areas such as along the Great River Road. We should take the opportunity given to us and move forward slowly. Nothing is lost by taking the time to do this right.
John Tittle serves on the Goodhue County Mining Study Committee.