Litigation creates sink hole in sand

By Emily Bialkowski
Caledonia Argus

The legal hole surrounding the Erickson/MN Sands sand mine is getting pretty deep.

Landowners Michelle and Tracie Erickson asked a Wabasha County judge to allow them to continue mining in Houston County after the county ordered them to stop in July based on the idea that the conditional use permit that exists on the property does not apply to the type of mining they wish to engage in. The hearing was scheduled for Oct. 19 and cancelled  at the last minute after the two parties agreed to try and work out an arrangement.

Then, at the Oct. 23 regular Houston County board meeting – after a 40 minute closed session hearing with the county’s attorney Jay Squires – the board voted to not enter into a temporary operating agreement with the mining company.

Commissioner Jack Miller said, “We had significant and detailed discussion of the pluses and minuses of entering into a temporary operating agreement with MN Sands.”

The motion passed unanimously with no further discussion.

Meanwhile, a Houston County study group created to research and draft some type of ordinance regulating frac sand mining continues to meet.