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Winona County defers decision on frac sand mining

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — Citizens are debating whether Winona County should put the brakes on frac sand mining.

The Winona Daily News reports most speakers at Tuesday night’s Winona County Board hearing backed a moratorium, voicing concerns ranging from air and water quality, to road damage, to health issues. Moratorium opponents touted the potential economic benefits of sand mining.

The board deferred a decision until its Jan. 10 meeting. Eight sand mine permit applications have been filed in Winona County.

Drilling companies use silica sand to unlock oil and gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The sand grains found under southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin are especially prized for their size, shape, strength and purity. Several counties and communities in both states have adopted moratoriums so they can study the impacts.

Information from: Winona Daily News,

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