First test of 2013 Minnesota frac sand law is successful

The owner of a controversial Houston County silica sand mine was notified Monday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that he must stop mining and apply for a DNR Silica Sand Mining Trout Stream Setback Permit. The Erickson silica sand mine in Houston County’s Yucatan Township is within a mile of Ferndale Brook, a designated trout stream. This is the first silica mine to test a 2013 state law which established a rigorous permitting process for silica sand mines proposed within one mile of a trout stream. Continue Reading

Sand, land and land stewardship

For longer than I can remember, my family has taken the same route from our farm in southeast Minnesota to visit my grandparents in north-central Wisconsin. The first leg of the four-hour trip takes us across the Mississippi River and through the farmland, pastures and rolling, wooded hills of Trempealeau and Jackson Counties. The landmarks and scenery along every mile of the route have become deeply familiar to us over countless trips in all seasons. Continue Reading

Gov. Dayton: This is farmland, not fracland

NOTE: Land Stewardship Project members and staff met with Governor Mark Dayton about frac sand mining issues on Dec. 4 in Winona, Minn. The meeting began with Bob Christie of Utica, Minn., sharing his perspective as a lifelong farmer on why frac sand mining is wrong for southeast Minnesota. Gov. Dayton was visibly moved and asked for a copy of the statement, which is reproduced here: Continue Reading

Comment period on Winona County frac sand review extended to Feb. 6

The process of environmental review for frac sand mine proposals in Winona County has been seriously flawed from the start. But there’s still time for citizens to get involved and push for an in-depth, comprehensive review—otherwise known as an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)—that would show the full impacts these proposed developments would have on our land, air, water and communities. Continue Reading

As Senate Farm Bill heads to vote, now’s the time to reform crop insurance

Well, this is it. The Senate Ag Committee’s version of the 2012 Farm Bill is up for a floor vote the week of June 4, and boy does it need an overhaul before it’s finalized. The biggest area in need of reform is the massive giveaway of $95 billion over the next 10 years through federally subsidized crop insurance. Crop insurance is an important and needed farm program. Continue Reading