Should the state limit frac sand mining to protect trout streams?

Legislation that would prohibit frac sand mining within a mile of a trout stream or spring in southeastern Minnesota would prevent at least 10 proposed frac sand mines in the region from being developed, according to a new analysis.

MPR News: Minnesota Sands spokesman Mitch Bublitz said frac sand mining opponents were using trout as the latest excuse to stop new mines, now that a statewide moratorium is no longer a possibility. “Now they’re trying to pretend they’re protecting the fish to achieve the same goal,” he said.

Bublitz said the possibility of sand and runoff from a mine reaching a trout stream a mile away was remote, and that highway ditches in the area are already causing silica sand to run off into trout streams.

But proponents of the legislation have said mines can disrupt groundwater, leading to warming of trout streams.

Trout angling is a big industry in the region, John Lenczewski, a member of Trout Unlimited, told a Senate committee last week.

“Without the cold water from the springs, the trout fisheries disappear, the investment is wasted, and thousands of jobs that are dependent on this industry are lost,” Lenczewski said.

Today’s Question: Should the state limit frac sand mining to protect trout streams?