Winona County is first in Minnesota to ban frac sand mining

Frac sand mining is used in hydraulic fracuturing, a method of oil production

Winona County has become the first Minnesota county to ban frac sand mining.

County commissioners, on Tuesday, voted 3-2 to ban mining of the sand used in hydraulic fracturing, a method of oil production.

Supporters of frac sand mining in Winona County said it could create jobs and boost the economy. Opponents worried about health risks, environmental problems, and the volatility of the oil business.

Commissioner Marie Kovecsi voted for the ban, telling the Star Tribune that her constituents would have faced noise, dust and road safety problems.

Commissioner Steve Jacob voted against the ban, saying a better solution would have been to regulate the number of sand mines in the county. He says it boiled down to a “rural versus city issue.”

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