Houston County fails to ban frac sand mining despite earlier vote

About half a dozen people were removed from a public meeting that turned bitter in Houston County after commissioners voted against a frac sand mining ban.

Houston County sits in the southeast corner of the state and was prepped to become the first in Minnesota to order an outright ban on silica sand mining. The board voted 3-2 against adding the ban to the county's ordinance and also voted 3-2 against an ordinance that would regulate the industry.

Tuesday's vote flew in the face of last month's 5-0 vote giving preliminary approval to the ban (that would have been). The aforementioned group was removed due to disruptive behavior.

Houston County has a three-year moratorium on frac sand minding, but it expires Thursday. However, MPR reported once that expires, guidelines return to the existing ordinance which does not specifically mention silica sand.

Frac sand minding releases large amounts of natural gas once silica sand is drilled into underground rock to break up the stone.

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