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Citizens work with Goodhue County on frac sand rules

RED WING, Minn. -- A citizens group will work with Goodhue County to review four amendments to its mining ordinance relating to silica sand extraction.

This comes as a public hearing for a frac sand mining overlay district proposed by the group. Save-the-Bluffs, was postponed Monday at a Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission.

The changes to the ordinance would increase mining setbacks in residential zones to one mile, ban mines and processing facilities within a mile of the ordinary high-water line of the Mississippi River, enhance language around enforcement and restrict the use of flocculants and coagulants in the mining process.

Save-the-Bluffs members met with Goodhue County Commissioners Jim Bryant and Dan Rechtzigel to hash out the proposals Aug. 13, Chairwoman Jody McIlrath said.

Several details must be worked out, such as defining which kind of residences will pertain the one-mile setback. McIlrath said the one-mile setback from the Mississippi River would help protect area tourism, while restricting flocculants and coagulants would protect water quality -- two of the primary concerns brought up by citizens in previous discussions of silica mining.

The commission voted unanimously to send the four items to the county's Mining Study Committee for review at a meeting Sept. 4. The county's mining moratorium expires March 5.