Letter: Considering old gold, new gold, let’s reject silica miningYears of personal “old gold” prospecting experiences have taken me to many western states.
By: Mike Richards, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Years of personal “old gold” prospecting experiences have taken me to many western states. I have seen grim scarring of the land from mining. I can state emphatically that most mining operations are dirty, volatile, high-risk endeavors. These operations have been led by persistent, highly motivated and well-financed people.
I have concerns for Goodhue County citizens, regardless of the good intentions that may be verbalized by Windsor Permian. We must keep in mind the goal is to acquire “new gold” (silica sand). Citizens must be prepared to aggressively discourage them.
Monday was an opportunity for the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Board to show any and all seekers of silica sand that we mean business. Many good reasons were presented from homeowners, small-business owners, Trout Unlimited and a physician. Unfortunately, the commission seemed unmoved by testimonies and a petition (400 signatures to date) asking for a one-year moratorium. Rather than act, they tabled the matter for a month.
One glaring comment by a planning commissioner referred to the sand mine as “rumor” despite the fact the group in attendance was advised there is a letter of intent now on file from Windsor Permian.
We cannot afford to have further delays beyond the July meeting.
The board did report that on or after Nov. 19, 2002, any mineral extraction facility regulated by the Goodhue County Zoning Ordinance is required to have a conditional-use permit. The CUP must contain a detailed list of application requirements.
It would appear the proposed site of the Windsor sand mining operation is in an area of very high sensitivity to pollution. Currently Goodhue County has 38 registered mines, all of which are within ag zones.
I understand silica/frac mining demands an immense volume of water. This fact alone concerns me as a person who enjoys hiking on the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail. The idea of polluting Hay Creek, like many of the river/creeks in the western states, should not be tolerated.
Good stewards of the land authorized to act for the best interest of the citizens must act now. Don’t ever allow Goodhue County to become the “New Gold Rush.”
There is no place in Goodhue County for silica/frac mining.