November 16th, 2012
Last night, “Red Wing 20/20” had a “Community Forum” about frac sand mining. Red Wing 20/20 is an entity formed by the Red Wing Port Authority, and from its Red Wing page:
“Promote economic growth.” That’s a phrase I don’t like because it usually means “promote economic growth” no matter what the impacts are.
The program was introduced by Pam Gorman, she’s the chair of Red Wing 20/20, and that gets my red flags up given she’s Xcel Energy,. Mayor Dennis Eagan played a part as well, members of Red Wing 20/20 are appointed by the Mayor, and he’s a lobbyist for some pretty nefarious entitites (google “Altria”). Oh my!
Frac Sand Operations in Minnesota—History and Outlook—Heather Arends, DNR Applicable State Regulations—Environmental Permits—Wendi Turri, MPCA Transport Issues—Dave Christianson, MnDOT Frac Sand Operations: Public Health Concerns—Silica Toxicity—Hillary Carpenter, MDH Other Tools for Addressing New Operations—Environmental Review—Bob Patton, EQB
I had a flyer to pass, because I want those concerned with frac sand issues to weigh in on the gutting of the EQB, started by Pawlenty and gang, and which Gov. Dayton joined with his E.O. 11-32. There was an EQB meeting recently about this, with a frac sand agenda item afterwards, and the frac sand people who were there just sat there, didn’t say a peep, as the EQB heard public comments on their plans! Come on, folks, this affects you and your project! Show up before it’s too late!
Here’s my flyer, urging people to attend the public meetings and Environmental Congress, to contact Gov. Dayton (click here!), and to contact legislators.
We missed the introduction, Heather Arends, DNR, and Wendi Turri from MPCA.
It was weird, mostly because the guy from the DOT, Dave Christianson, who was speaking when we got there, he was to talk about “Transport Issues” instead was in promotional mode, and even said that sand isn’t a health problem. WHAT??? That went far beyond his area. But he also said that he’s a friend of a guy who has a frac sand mine on his land in Wisconsin… hmmmmm…
Hillary Carpenter, from the Dept. of Health, was excellent, clearly knew what he was talking about, openly noting that this was something there wasn’t a lot of information about, but that it IS a health hazard.
Bob Patton, EQB. explained Environmental Review, pretty realistically, the purpose, scope and limits and also about Generic EIS and how that works (Other Tools for Addressing New Operations??? EH? Should have been in the “Applicable State Regulations” part. It’s not separate, and it’s applicable regulation.) Patton brought up the Environmental Congress as something people should participate in. YEAAAA! The EQB once was a working entity, but now it’s been gutted so severely, with duties shuffled elsewhere, worst case was power plant siting going over to Commerce, what does Commerce have to do with environmental review for transmission? So that helped lend some oomph to my flyers, which the organizers didn’t want me to pass out during the program, said I had to wait until they called a break because they were running behind, I declined, “I’m not going to be delaying anything!” and passed them out during speaker changes. I know, it’s such revolutionary stuff, info about the Environmental Congress and the meeting schedule.
With the Governor’s push to redefine the intent of environmental review, and with the budget cuts that have neutered agencies, I’m not feeling hopeful that frac sand will get the vetting it needs.
Now’s the time to weigh in on the importance of ROBUST and THOROUGH environmental review! Public Meetings soon:
November 27 – Rochester, Wood Lake Meeting Center 9:30am – 12:00pm
November 27 – Bloomington, Normandale Community College 6:30pm – 9:00pm
November 28 – Duluth, Lake Superior College 5:30pm – 8:00pm
December 10 – Worthington, Worthington High School 3:30pm – 6:00pm
December 12 – St. Cloud, Stearns County Service Center 5:30pm – 8:00pm
December 14 – Moorhead, Minnesota State University 3:00pm – 5:30pm
More on the Environmental Congress page.