Winona County's first frac sand mine will have to delay its startup after the Winona County Board of Commissioners voted 3-to-2 to require the preparation of an environmental assessment worksheet.
The vote came after a first motion to not require the EAW was defeated when commissioners Mena Kaehler, Jim Pomeroy and Greg Olson opposed it.
The same three commissioners then voted in favor of the EAW with board chair Kaehler casting the swing vote. Commissioners Wayne Valentine and Marcia ward voted against requiring the EAW.
Kaehler said the board owes it to the citizens to make a responsible decision on a permit for the mine and the EAW will help them do that.
Valentine said enough research has been done on the issue and the board should stand behind the Planning Commission which recommended no EAW.
That board's decision now means the county will have 30 days to review the document when it is completed. It will then have to be reviewed by the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, and a public hearing will be needed before the county board votes again.
EAWs will also be voluntarily conducted by two other proposed sand mines...all of which are located in Saratoga Township.