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.
That 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. The vote to require the EAW went against the county Planning Commission which had earlier recommended the EAW not be required.