Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mine, mine, all mine!

photo of raptor skull
© harrington
Happy Valentine's Day. Thanks for stopping by. Remember a poster with the saying "war is not healthy for children and other living things?" I'm starting to feel the same way about mining. Monday's posting on snow storm, sand storm elicited a great set of comments. I'm reprinting them here because I don't like the way Blogger buries comments and I think the ones submitted are important. Jim Erkel wrote :
There are a number of developments relating to the possibility of a GEIS for silica sand mining and processing. The Environmental Quality Board has been considering a petition for a GEIS for some time. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and the Minnesota Department of Health recently recommended that Winona County perform an EIS for several proposed mines that the agencies believe should be considered as part of a single project. And, the Minnesota Legislature is considering several bills that would fund a GEIS.

One question that hasn't been answered yet is whether a moratorium on permitting additional mines and processing facilities can or should be imposed during a GEIS. Under its rules on environmental review, the EQB can't impose a moratorium if it decides to proceed with a GEIS. However, some of us have argued that it has such authority under the Critical Areas Act. Some of the legislation moving through the Minnesota Senate would also establish a moratorium if a GEIS is funded.

I also find that Bluestem Prairie is a great source of information on sand mining and I highly recommend it. The Land Stewardship Project is leading the charge on the legislation to fund a GEIS and establish a moratorium. They have a lot of information on specific projects that have been proposed and about how well (or not) local governments in southeast Minnesota have responded to the sand rush.

It is important to remember that silica sand mining isn't only a concern in southeast Minnesota. The maps of commercially available sand deposits show broad swaths up through the Twin Cities and into the northern suburbs and also up the Minnesota River Valley. It truly is an issue of statewide concern.
Thanks, Jim. Shortly after reading Jim's comments,  I received an email notice of a DVD that's been made of last year's sled dog delivery to the governor by Frank Moe a petition with thousands of signatures expressing concerns about mining in sensitive areas of northern Minnesota. I'm really pleased that My Minnesota has folks like Jim and Frank and Sally Jo helping the rest of us keep track of the threats to Our Minnesota. Please stop by again tomorrow to check out the latest rant or write on what's yours, mine and ours.