Frac sand mining opponent Lynn Schoen didn’t know until the last minute that she would be allowed to testify before the Minnesota House Mining Committee. That’s because the committee’s chair, Rep. Tom Hackbarth (R-Cedar) originally said only industry groups would be allowed to testify about the controversial mining that fuels the oil fracking industry in states such as North Dakota, but can create serious environmental problems in Minnesota.
Schoen and several others were given time only after Hackbarth decided to skip testimony from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and allow non-industry groups 15 minutes. The big mining companies had been given more than an hour of time to state their case.
Schoen got about 90 seconds and made the most of it.
Schoen is also a council member in Wabasha, a town that sees many frac sand mining trucks on its streets. She says the problem is not the large sand producers who testified before the committee because they are “good guys” who follow the rules.
“What scares little towns like mine are the is the little cowboy guys that just come in and do what they want to do,” said Schoen. Other testifiers had said trucks filled with sand drive through towns and don’t always cover their loads, which releases particulates into the air.
Schoen says because the committee only invited the big producers to speak, they’re not seeing the whole picture.
She also said Gov Dayton is no longer inviting local governments such as Wabasha to be part of the discussion on how to regulate frac sand mining.
She chastised the committee for listening to a paid witness from one of the mining companies testify on particulates and not reaching out to the University of Minnesota which she says is a world leader on studying particulates.
Schoen closed by saying “Dear god, next time would you please invite us to the table and don’t assume northern Minnesota is the same as southern Minnesota,” which drew a round of applause from those in the audience.
Video at top: Schoen’s 90 seconds of testimony.
Video above: Frac sand mining opponents outside hearing asking for equal time
Video below: Entire House Mining Committee Hearing