LETTER: State needs to investigate risks of frac sand mining
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 7:46 AM
Sen. Schmit's proposed legislation is an important step providing for further scrutiny of the impact of frac sand mining and the consequent development of appropriate regulation to protect Minnesota's citizens.
We know that silica sand is dangerous; OSHA has developed safety regulations for those working inside a mine, but there are no such regulations for people living and working outside. How dangerous might that be? We don't know.
We know that diesel fumes are toxic and that there are already dangerous levels of diesel particulates in southeast Minnesota.
Frac sand mines will add thousands of diesel trucks to the roads in that area; is that a significant health problem for the residents of southeast Minnesota? We don't know.
We know that frac sand mining will add jobs to local economies. Will it also have negative economic consequences? Might the additional truck traffic hurt some local businesses? What will happen to real estate values for those properties with sand and also nearby residences? We don't know.
Local residents need more time to sort out what's likely to happen to them, their neighborhoods, their towns and schools.
Local governments need time to work out the kind of regulations that will allow them to control this enormous industry in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of its citizens.
So, please encourage your local officials and your friends to support Senator Schmit in his efforts to help us all understand this new industry and its likely impacts on our lives, our children, our communities.