To the Editor:
Sen. Matt Schmit of Red Wing, working with Trout Unlimited, has proposed provisions to protect trout streams in Southeast Minnesota from damage resulting from frac sand mining. He wanted these provisions included in the Game and Fish Policy Bill, Senate File 796.
Pristine cold water springs in our karst area create some of the best trout streams in the United States. Frac sand mining threatens to pollute this water, and disrupt the flow of springs, in ways that would raise the water temperature. Death for our trout.
Our state has invested millions in stocking and protecting these streams. Trout fishing has provided over a billion dollars in economic activity in the driftless area. These special provisions in SF 796 only apply to the Paleozoic Plateau, which is our part of the driftless area.
We live within a mile of an old quarry being considered for frac sand mining. It is at the head of a drainage system that feeds our springs and a stream that flows into Money Creek, a tributary of Root River. All of this is threatened because we have no state-level standards to protect our region’s trout streams.
Sen. Schmit proposed: a mile setback from trout streams; a limit on how much groundwater frac sand facilities could use; and limiting mining to within 25 feet of the water table.
DNR Commissioner Landwehr testified we need all of these provisions to protect the trout streams and groundwater. Despite this knowledge, Sen. Miller cast the deciding vote to kill these provisions.
In talking to Senator Miller’s office staff, I was told he needs more data before he would vote for the amendment. I listened online to the testimony given by DNR Commissioner Landwehr and a representative from Trout Unlimited that Senator Miller would have heard. I heard some very specific data.
It is time we, the concerned citizens who live here, are heard and taken seriously about having input to regulations on sand mining instead of just the sand mining industry. I listened to the sand mining representative say if the setbacks are put into the regulations, that would stop sand mining. These regulations, put in place, would only relegate the sand mines to areas not as sensitive to its impact.
Call Sen. Miller at 651-296-5649 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know you want him to protect his constituents, not frac sand special interests. Contact Senator Miller now.
Rural Houston, Minn.