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Letter: Perverse logic at work in county

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To the Editor:

On July 15, the Goodhue County Planning Commission voted to recommend ending the moratorium on permitting new frac sand mines. In the public hearing, most spoke against that action.

A member of the Mining Study Committee noted that the committee has been dominated by "five very loud voices" — three from the Planning Commission that voted two years ago against any moratorium or change to ordinances, and two mining industry experts on the Committee.

Naturally, the most vocal mining advocate now on the Planning Commission repeated that we have in place a "very good" ordinance. Two years ago, he voted against any changes at all.  

The head of the County Land-use Management Office has led mining committee discussions in certain directions, during which no minutes have been kept. The resulting ordinance is like a large tiger with minimal teeth or claws.

Many county citizens have steered clear of the issue because it is too controversial and political. Others have just given up or remained uninformed. Their silence speaks volumes.

Those who have taken part in discussions have not done so for enjoyment. One way or the other, they rightly care about the future of the county.  

As a result, a small number of people will determine the future of many. This is not how it should be, but it is how it is.

A perverse logic is at work in County government:

1) Because so much preparatory work has been done, we must stop preparing and swing into action.  (

2) Because we already have so much truck traffic and industrial development, we cannot control a sudden quantum increase in both of these, regardless of the consequences.

The Great River Road and the Hiawatha Valley may become primarily a delivery route and source of supply for the petroleum industry. Historic river towns along the route will be only inconvenient places for trucks and trains to slow down. Some people will get rich, many poorer, especially over time. Money will be made; treasure will be lost.  

Is anybody listening? Who will be pulling our strings?

Winston Kaehler

Red Wing

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