Dear editor,

I write to commend the elected officials of Fillmore County. Of particular note are the county officials who have carefully guided the drafting of two new local mining ordinances. One ordinance governs traditional sand and aggregate mining (for roads, building and livestock bedding). The other is dedicated to a brand new industry, mining of industrial frac sand for export.

Fillmore County's efforts, initiated after a moratorium on sand mining took effect in February, lasted until both ordinances were approved on Nov. 27, 2012. Also praiseworthy are the citizens who bothered to learn about industrial sand mining and attended meetings shaping its future here.

Along the way, county meetings taught me more than I ever expected to learn about local affairs. I refer not to mining but a broad range of concerns; permitting, community and economic development, labor relations, public welfare, veterans affairs. . . Our commissioners were informed, patient, even wise. And at the same time, they and other administrators admitted to learning more than they initially expected about this new and looming sand industry. They learned through the open, public process they allowed. Despite, or maybe because of, moments of picketing and protest, it was a respectful, two-way street.

If county hearings in general lack for anything, it is for even greater public input. And though our county's nine months of sand mining meetings were an education in themselves, they were sadly devoid of student attendees. I believe local government would only gain from the involvement of young people, students, and anyone who is part of the future of our little piece of Minnesota.

But now it really is up to every citizen to study something new, because industrial sand mining will change Fillmore County. And the opinions we have held about theoretical sand mines should be weighed against their reality.

Be aware. Forward-looking Fillmore County citizens must turn a new leaf and regard with open eyes and minds the unfolding developments as frac sand mining begins.


Anna Loney,