More frac sand mining promotion!  The Rochester Chamber of Commerce, run for just 7 months, over a decade ago, by none other than illustrious soon-to-be-former Mayor Dennis Egan, is hosting a frac sand event.

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Friday, March 22, 11:30a.m. -1:00p.m.

Honker Events at the Ramada
1517 - 16th St SW
Rochester, Minnesota

Cost: Members $25, Non-members $35 (includes lunch)

Pre-registration Required

Word first arrived on March 14, 2013, as a email from the Rochester Chamber, where Egan was listed as “Mayor of Red Wing & Exec. Director, Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.” They have altered that to say only “Minnesota Industrial Sand Council” on their website:

Rochester Chamber of Commerce email

And from their website:


Experts!  Who are the “experts” in this Rochester Chamber cast of characters?

Vern Baker is clear about his interests!  Good job!

We all know about Dennis Egan and his ethical standards and expertise in frac sand mining…

Jeffery Broberg represents landowners such as David Nisbit who want mines on their property, and who said at a public hearing, “As the applicant’s representative, I have a higher level of rights on these issues.” His promotional bent is clear in his statement after the St. Charles rail site was denied by the City:

Jeff Broberg, a geologic consultant to the frac sand industry who lives near St. Charles, said any meaningful expansion of industrial sand mining in the area will depend on the kind of large-scale, rail-aided logistics envisioned by Minnesota Proppant. He said that in his view, fear-mongering and negative exaggerations poisoned public discussion of the St. Charles proposal. “It’s a setback for the industry and for St. Charles,” Broberg said.

From the NoCapX site, we know an awful lot about Broberg, for example his classic “Exhibit 7” portrayal of the long closed sand-barred boat landing at the White Bridge Road!


Dave Christianson is billed as “Project Manager, Minnesota Department of Transportation.


He was billed as something similar at soon-to-be-former Mayor Egan’s Frac Sand Forum.  What does Google have to say? MnDOT Freight, Rail, & Waterways Staff; City of Winona powerpoint, and he’s all for expansion: “We believe it is very well controlled,” he said. “It’s something we look forward to seeing expanded and properly managed as we go forward.”

So of this lot, all are proponents, and not one speaker is independent, and not one speaker is opposed.  “Advocacy” is part of the title of the Chamber staffer who sent the email, and it’s pretty clear what they’re advocating for!

To attend, you have to pre-register, and pay $35: Members and Non-Members.


7 p.m. February 25, 2013

Red Wing City Hall

Tonight’s the night — be there or be square!  Tell the Red Wing City Council what you think about having the “voice of frac sand mining” as Mayor of Red Wing.  Should he be allowed to remain in office until April Fools Day?,,,,,,

Tonight the Red Wing City Council will be addressing the Mayor’s offer to resign as of April 1, 2013.  April Fools?  I hope not.

If you can’t attend the meeting, CLICK HERE FOR LIVE WEBCAST:

IS HIS RESIGNATION IN WRITING? There’s no reason to wait so long — he should resign immediately.  He should resign before the legislative session goes any further.  He should resign before any meetings where he’d be going to represent the City of Red Wing.  He’s tainted.  This is about character, and he’s had many opportunities to display his character, and what I’ve seen is disturbing.  If he doesn’t resign, he should be booted out, as the City Council has power to do under the City Charter.


The agenda item about Dennis Egan begins at 36:13.

Dennis Egan’s comments 51:26 – 1:03:55.

Throughout, he remains resolutely firm in stating there is no problem with his actions, and very long-windedly states when put on the spot, that he will not consider resigning.  No direct answers.

Egan begins not by addressing his own egregious behavior, but by objecting to emails sent that questioned the ethics and motives of City Administrator Kay Kuhlman, that it was “out of bounds and out of line, unfair and uncalled for.”  WOW.  Here’s what was in the STrib, from Egan, about talking to Kuhlman about his frac sand mining lobbying job:

Egan said he talked to City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann before signing his employment contract last week with the sand council. He declined to say how much the group is paying him.

“She didn’t raise any red flags at that time,” said Egan, who was re-elected in November to a four-year term.

Kuhlmann did not return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

And in the Post Bulletin, he also raises Kuhlman’s involvement:

Egan said he informed Red Wing City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann of the job offer prior to accepting; Kuhlmann was not available for comment.

He seems to be using her to hid behind, that “She didn’t raise any red flags at that time,” and that he “informed” her “prior to accepting.” Maybe that conversation didn’t happen, she wasn’t informed, and she’s collateral damage.  Maybe he’s dropping her name to help bolster his position.  Whatever occurred, he’s putting her in a bad position.  What was that conversation, the subject, the date, what all did he disclose to Kuhlman?  The City Council and the public should know.

Based on the Kuhlman reference in the STrib and Post Bulletin, here’s a Comment of mine on the Post Bulletin site:

Hmmmmm, my comment disappeared… here we go again: It’s not just Egan’s duplicity that’s on the Council agenda Monday, the city’s legislative position on frac sand mining is also to be decided. There’s a lot of passive and minimizing language in this article. Egan didn’t “find himself” lobbying for frac sand mining interests, he put himself there. He didn’t disclose to the Council, nor apparently did Kuhlman. Administrator Kuhlman is not an attorney or does a City Administrator have any authority regarding conflict-of-interest issues — to not raise the impropriety of Egan’s actions brings Kuhlman’s ethics into question (though we don’t know much about their discussion). Recusal by Egan is not sufficient. It’s time to resign. That he doesn’t regard it as improper is astounding. Egan may not care, but this constituent and many others do. Maybe after Monday’s City Council meeting he’ll have a sense of the ethical issues and the line he’s crossed.

The bottom line is that Not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-Mayor Dennis Egan did not disclose to the City Council.  If Not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-Mayor Dennis Egan did disclose to City Administrator Kay Kuhlman, she did not disclose to the City Council.  If he’s tossing her name around to bolster his position and he didn’t disclose his position to Kay Kuhlman as he said he did, then it’s even worse for him.  Because he raised this issue so defensively right out of the gate (CLICK HERE, at 51:26), I think there’s more going on here.  What’s the rest of the story?

This is about character.  This is about Dennis Egan’s value system.  Dennis Egan has demonstrated his character and value system, and he is not fit to be Mayor.  He should not represent the City in any way.

Timing is important.  The legislature is in session and will be until after April 1, 2013.  Egan should not be Mayor while a registered lobbyist for the frac sand mining industry.  I believe there is a national conference in March that Egan is to attend representing the City of Red Wing, and if so, the City should send someone else.

Keep those emails coming to the Red Wing City Council members — tell them what you think of this situation, let them know whether you think Egan should remain in office until April Fools Day (in previous posts, I’d not copied the “j” of — APOLOGIES — it’s correct below):,,,,,,

Tonight — 7 p.m. February 25, 2013 at Red Wing City Hall.  Be there or be square.



YES!!!  Making progress today on two fronts in the frac sand world here in Red Wing and in Goodhue County!!  First, Mayor Egan has announced he WILL resign, but he hasn’t yet.  Second, there’s a draft bill circulating that regulates sand mining and which mandates an EIS, and I’ll post a more detailed review of that soon.

But the problem here is that Dennis Egan shouldn’t wait for a month to resign — Egan should resign NOW!  Way down at the bottom of this is a good editorial from Richard Johnson, a former County Attorney, who was ejected from the Council meeting.  He was outraged at the Council’s lack of a backbone, understandably!  (I missed the meeting, couldn’t be there, was on the train almost to L.A. then, and trains have to be booked 6 months in advance to get a decent price.)  The week of hasty communications before the Council meeting seems to have been worthwhile, seems to have been heard.  It took a while, though, for them to get wound up.  There are a lot of us here in town utterly disgusted by Egan’s lack of judgment and is inability to see that it’s a problem.  Seems that the Council and us voters pushed hard enough to make it impossible for him to continue.  His statements are still statements of denial, more evidence of the depth of his cluelessness (I’m struggling for words here!).

Let’s hope this resignation plan isn’t an April Fools gag. Red Wing City Council, GET IT IN WRITING!

The story in the paper is more extensive than the online version, CLICK HERE FOR PDF OF STORY IN REPUBLICAN EAGLE, and here’s what’s on-line:

Egan will leave mayoral post

Mayor Dennis Egan will resign by April 1.

He made his decision public today, 12 days after the Red Wing City Council voted to have an independent investigator look into Egan’s involvement with the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.

Egan has maintained that there was no conflict of interest in holding both positions. The public conflict, however, proved another matter.

He reiterated Friday that he’s pleased city attorney Jay Squires issued an opinion that no legal conflict of interest exists at this time.

“Yet, I believe that a mayor must live to a higher standard than just avoiding conflicts of interest,” Egan said. “The position of mayor is one of public service and, if a mayor’s activities serve as a distraction or roadblock for the city, the public is not well-served. The last few weeks have demonstrated that my new position can serve as a distraction to the city and my family.”

Meanwhile, there’s a frac sand mining bill in the works, here’s the draft as I received it:


There are some issues with this, particularly regarding local control.  This bill doesn’t do nearly enough to preserve the rights of local governments to do set their own more stringent regulations, it allows it but needs to clearly state that the local more stringent regulations are controlling — if not we’re in the same mess we wound up in on the Goodhue Wind project.  Also, it sets a one year limit on the EIS preparation time, and from the transmission projects I’ve worked on, it may well take more than that.  It does not include Chisago and Washington Counties…  But this is a draft, there’s plenty of time to work on it.  More on that in a bit.

And more good news — soon to be ousted Mayor Egan is in the Rochester Post Bulletin and the STrib too:

KARE 11 was down here in Red Wing yesterday, and they caught up with Alan.  “It makes a laughing stock of Red Wing, that the Mayor would do this, would think that he can get away with this.”  Here’s the video — City Council President Lisa Bayley said it very succinctly, “you have to choose one or the other.”  Showing a big file of emails, she said  “You have to be very, very careful, those two things just cannot touch.”  Egan looks like he’s feeling the heat, steadfastly saying there’s no problem, that “the people of Red Wing knew I lobbied for controversial subjects when they voted for me.”  “These mines, those family owned Minnesota businesses, are not looking at mining the bluff, they’re not looking at mining the area.”

maidenrocksand_stribPhoto of Maiden Rock frac sand mining operation across the river

Oh, right, Mayor Egan… get a clue!  This is NOT acceptable.  It’s time to resign.

MN mayor’s new ‘frac’ job stirring up controversy

Keep those emails coming to the Red Wing City Council members — tell them what you think of this:,,,,,,

And copy the Mayor and City Administrator too:,

Faux News 9 has a poll — weigh in!

Faux News – Red Wing mayor hired for frac sand lobbying poll!

On Minnesota Public Radio today:

Red Wing mayor lobbies for silica sand industry


Red Wing Mayor Egan exposed

February 6th, 2013


Red Wing’s Mayor Dennis Egan is in pretty deep, and it’s getting deeper.  The Red Wing City Council will address the discovery that he’s a frac sand toady at the Monday City Council meeting.  That’s good to hear.  And they need to hear from those of us who are appalled at his duplicity.

URGENT – TODAY – contact the Red Wing City Council members and forward this Red Wing City Council contact info to friends, neighbors and family in Red Wing.,,,,,,

And don’t forget to copy:,


Red Wing Mayor to represent silica sand industry

Sand storm heads toward Capitol

Mayor Egan – the voice of frac sand mining!

Red Wing Mayor Egan leads Minnesota Industrial Sand Council; citizens wonder who he’ll serve


In the STrib today:

Red Wing’s mayor gets second job with frac sand lobbying group

(I liked the first headline better: “Red Wing’s mayor signs on with frac sand lobby”)

His work to promote fracking is a conflict of interest, residents say.

Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan has been hired to run a new lobbying and trade group for the frac sand industry, triggering consternation in his hometown just as it begins considering what position to take in a sand-mining debate that is emerging at the State Capitol.

Egan said Tuesday he sees no conflict of interest and won’t step down while he works as executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council.

But Red Wing City Council President Lisa Bayley, a lawyer, said she has received many “complaints, questions and concerns” from residents about the mayor’s new job as a paid advocate for an industry that is at the forefront of local ferment.

The situation comes as the sand-mining industry is raising its profile at the Capitol amid a boom in silica mining to supply the oil and gas industry with a vital ingredient for a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

The sand council, a consortium of aggregate, trucking and petroleum companies with interests in frac sand and gravel, has hired Twin Cities law firm Larkin Hoffman to lobby its cause. Egan, a professional lobbyist, also has registered in St. Paul to lobby for the sand council.

But Egan’s decision also occurs as debate rages up and down the Mississippi River corridor over the sand boom. In the past four years, more than 100 mines and processing facilities have been permitted in Wisconsin and Minnesota in a rush largely controlled by local units of government.

Bayley said the council will discuss the matter Monday at a regularly scheduled meeting.

“If the facts are as we think they are, it could prove to be a very serious matter,” she said, declining to elaborate.

Egan said he talked to City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann before signing his employment contract last week with the sand council. He declined to say how much the group is paying him.

“She didn’t raise any red flags at that time,” said Egan, who was re-elected in November to a four-year term.

Kuhlmann did not return a phone call Tuesday afternoon.

Egan said there are no applications pending before the city for frac sand facilities. The city ordinance that will regulate the industry was “put to bed” in October, and the sand council shares his position that “mining the bluffs on the Mississippi River is not a good idea.”

“In my mind, there’s not a conflict,” Egan said.

Bayley and fellow Council Member Peggy Rehder, however, said the frac sand debate is very much alive in Red Wing. The city is dealing with truck traffic issues and barge loading of frac sand from the city-owned bulkhead, or dock. Part of the agenda for Monday’s council meeting, Bayley said, is to discuss what position the city should take on frac sand issues that crop up at the Legislature. No bill has been introduced so far regarding frac sand mining, but there has been talk behind the scenes of possible statewide involvement in the issue.

“The issue of local control is very important to us,” Rehder said.

Throughout southeastern Minnesota and as far north as Scott County, local officials are trying to balance worries over air quality, water pollution, water depletion, truck traffic and noise against jobs and other economic benefits that the sand mining industry offers. Egan said part of the sand council’s mission is to advance the best practices for mining, processing and transportation.

“It’s not across the board that people are opposing” the frac sand industry, Egan said. “This group acknowledges there are issues, but that they can be dealt with.”

Rehder said she wants the city attorney to issue an opinion for the council as to whether the mayor has a legal conflict of interest. Rehder is a former lobbyist who worked in Washington, D.C., and who used to represent Hennepin County.

“Would I ever be a lobbyist and hold public office at the same time?” Rehder said. “No.”

She said Red Wing is “in the heart of frac sand mining country” and people are “very concerned” about Egan’s new position.

Tony Kennedy 612-673-4213

And in the Rochester Post Bulletin:

Red Wing mayor to represent silica sand industry

The peculiar situation has riled some.

Egan, who took office in 2011 and was re-elected in 2012, signed a contract Friday that installs him as executive director of the newly formed Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. The council is an organization of six Minnesota companies with an interest in mining silica sand, including the owner of a proposed St. Charles development, with Egan at its head. The council also represents the interests of companies involved in silica mining in an ancillary way, such as railroads, trucking and petroleum producers.

“The folks had gotten my name because that’s what I do,” said Egan, who has worked the last 10 years as a Capitol lobbyist. “It wasn’t tied to anything other than ‘Dennis, you’ve done this for 10 years and you have a good reputation.’ My approach is you need to work in collaboration to move projects forward.”

The new group has hired Minneapolis-based Larkin Hoffman law firm to serve as its lobbyist during the current legislative session, where Sen. Matt Schmitt, DFL-Red Wing, is expected to propose silica sand legislation later this week. Egan hopes to develop a list of best practices related to dust mitigation and other mining issues.

Southeastern Minnesota is at the forefront of the state’s silica sand controversy. The issue first surfaced just a few miles from Red Wing when Windsor Permian, an Oklahoma-based energy company, purchased 155 acres of land in 2010 and expressed an interest in mining silica sand. Concerns spread rapidly through the region since then, with Winona, St. Charles and Wabasha being the current hot spots.

There are just five active silica sand mines in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, but many new ones have been proposed. Demand for the hard, round sand has exploded due to advances in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract oil and natural gas, particularly in North Dakota.

Egan, who has previously served as the Chamber of Commerce President in Red Wing and Rochester, said that he’s been brought in to resolve controversial situations in St. Louis and Ramsey counties, among others, in prior business deals. He’s since created his own company called Egan Public Affairs, which specializes in such endeavors.

“It’s another project in which you find passions on both sides of the aisle,” Egan said of his new role. “I don’t want to come across as downplaying that for southeast Minnesota. It’s a big issue; I recognize that.”

However, some aren’t convinced Egan’s new role is proper given his status as an elected official. Carol Overland, a Red Wing attorney, e-mailed the city council raising concerns about a conflict of interest and her concerns don’t appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Though council president Lisa Bayley declined comment and others didn’t return calls, council member Peggy Rehder expressed frustration that she wasn’t directly informed of Egan’s plans; the news was first posted online Friday evening by “Politics in Minnesota.”

Egan said he informed Red Wing City Administrator Kay Kuhlmann of the job offer prior to accepting; Kuhlmann was not available for comment.

“I’m puzzled,” Rehder said. “I think we need more information and we need a legal opinion from the city attorney.

“You’re absolutely right that people are concerned.”

While the situation is expected to be discussed further at Monday’s city council meeting, members of the citizen’s opposition group Save The Bluffs see it as a clear conflict of interest.

“How can you represent citizens and the industry at the same time?” asked John Tittle, a Red Wing resident and Bluffs member. “It seems like it would be a conflict. It seems kind of obvious.”

Egan responded to those challenges by saying the city ordinance had been approved for months by the time the sand companies approached him in late December. Should any new proposals be made, the mayor says he’d recuse himself from those discussions.