The Minnesota Environmental Quality Board has released a draft of the Silica Sand Model Standards and Criteria, a toolbox of regulatory approaches that local governments can use to address impacts from the mining, processing, and transporting of silica sand.
These guidelines, mandated by the 2013 legislature, provide information and recommendations related to a number of issues, including such things as water quality, natural vegetation and wildlife habitat, air quality and transportation.
The document is entitled "Tools to Assist Local Government."
Two regions of the state were the focus of the statute requiring the rules and standards....the Minnesota River Valley and southeastern Minnesota. The two regions are the areas most likely to experience the greatest effects of silica sand operations because they are where the most silica sand exists.
Local units of government are not required to adopt any elements of the document and statute does not authorize any other state agency to impose or enforce anything on local governments.
A subcommittee of the EQB will discuss the draft document on Wednesday, Dec. 18th, from 1-4 p.m., at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in St. Paul. The meeting will include presentations from state agencies as well as an opportunity for public comment. Written comments will also be accepted until January 13th, 2014.