Plans move forward with studying sand minesWith a yearlong sand mine moratorium in place in Goodhue County, county staff is starting to organize a steering committee that will study issues of concern surrounding mines.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
With a yearlong sand mine moratorium in place in Goodhue County, county staff is starting to organize a steering committee that will study issues of concern surrounding mines.
Goodhue County Land-use Management Director Lisa Hanni told the County Board Tuesday that she plans to establish a committee comprising nine people — two mining experts, two Planning Commission members and one person appointed from each of the commissioners.
The first meeting— where the group will go through logistics, assign tasks and organize future meeting dates — is scheduled for Oct. 11.
“There’s a number of mines in Minnesota that we’d like to take a look at,” Hanni explained of the committee’s research plans, adding that impacts on the water table, recreational activities and other aspects will be studied.
Commissioner Jim Bryant suggested the committee not limit itself to studying Minnesota mines since research can also be obtained from nearby Wisconsin mines.
While Commissioner Ron Allen favors studying the issues, he said he thought the committee would start out biased if it includes two mining experts.
“Don’t you think they’re going to lean toward mining and vote for mining?” Allen said, asking Hanni whether she will consider people from Windsor Permian, the company that owns 155 acres of land in Hay Creek Township and is drilling test wells.
There are 38 mines in the county, therefore plenty of experts remaining if commissioners advise not asking Windsor Permian employees, county staff pointed out.
County Board Chair Ted Seifert said he thought it would be helpful to have actual operators around when the committee does its research.
“If we don’t have that, our scope is more of a shotgun approach,” Seifert added.
The committee will likely meet once a month for four hours or potentially a full day, Hanni said. She will present monthly progress updates at County Board meetings.
At their next meeting Oct. 4, commissioners will appoint whom they’d like to make up the committee.