Your Support needed Re: Senator Schmit’s Ammendment

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY: New language protecting southeast Minnesota groundwater and trout streams from frac sand mining and processing needs your support.  Tonight (Tuesday) in the Environment Policy Committee, Sen. Schmit amended Senate File 796 to include important language protecting trout streams and groundwater in southeast MN from frac sand mining and processing.  Senate File 796 is a general MN Department of Natural Resources policy bill, commonly referred to as the “Game and Fish Bill.”  Sen. Schmit is the author of the bill.  Sen. Schmit’s amendment applies to the southeast corner of the state within the area that the DNR defines as the Paleozoic Plateau (222) Ecological Section.  A detailed map is on the DNR’s website HERE.

Sen. Schmit’s amendment says that within this area of southeast Minnesota:

1.       No frac sand mining is allowed within a mile of any spring, groundwater seepage area, fen, designated trout stream, class 2a water or any tributary of class 2a water or designate trout stream;

2.       The DNR cannot issue groundwater appropriation permits for frac sand related activity including frac sand processing; and

3.       Mining frac sand within 25 feet of the water table is prohibited.

 

This is strong language that will add to what is already included in Senate File 786.  The exact amendment language is at the end of this email.

TAKE ACTION: The bill’s next stop is tomorrow (Wednesday) in the Senate State and Local Government Policy Committee.  It will most likely be heard in the evening at 6:00 p.m.  Calls are needed to committee members in support of these important provisions.

1.  Call or email key members of the Senate State and Local Government Policy Committee on Wednesday and urge them to support these critical provisions.

Here is a suggested message:  “You will be hearing Senate File 796 tomorrow.  This is a DNR policy bill that includes important provisions protecting trout streams and groundwater in southeast Minnesota from the frac sand industry.  The southeast corner of Minnesota is part of the driftless area which contains karst topography.  This karst topography creates conditions for cold streams and some of the best trout fishing in the country.  However it also allows for groundwater and streams to be easily polluted.  Sen. Schmit has included provisions in SF 796 for southeast Minnesota’s driftless area that prohibit frac sand mining and other activity within a mile of sensitive waters; prohibit groundwater from being used for frac sand mining and processing; and prohibit frac sand mining within 25 feet of the water table. These are common sense provision needed to protect the regions groundwater and trout streams. Please support these provisions and oppose any attempts to remove them from the bill.”

Key members of the Senate State and Local Government Policy Committee:

2.  Call Governor Dayton at 651-201-3400and 800-657-3717.  Let him know about these important provisions and that he should support them too.


Sen. Schmit amendment to Senate File 786. (The amended version of the bill is not available online yet.  This usually takes a few day.)

Senator Schmit moves to amend SF 786 as follows.

Delete Section 55 and on page 26 line 33 insert:

Sec  52.  [103G.217] DRIFTLESS AREA WATER RESOURCES. Groundwater discharge from natural springs and seepage areas in the driftless area of Minnesota, corresponding to the area of the state contained within the boundaries of the Department of Natural Resources Paleozoic Plateau (222) Ecological Section, is vital to sustaining the coldwater aquatic ecosystems in the region, as well as recreational, commercial, agriculture, environmental, aesthetic, and economic well being.  In the area of the state contained within the boundaries of the Department of Natural Resources (222) Ecological Section, the excavating or mining of industrial silica sand by and means, including digging, excavating, mining, drilling, blasting, tunneling, dredging, stripping, or shafting is prohibited within one mile of any spring, groundwater, seepage area, fen, designated trout stream, class 2a water as designated in the rules of the Pollution Control Agency.

EFFECTIVE DATE.  This section is effective the day following final enactment.

Sec. 53 Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 103G.271 is amended by adding a subdivision to read:

Subd. 4b  Driftless area acquifers. (a) The commissioner may not issue water use permits for the appropriation of groundwater in the area of the state contained within the boundaries of the Department of Natural Resources Paleozoic Plateau (222) Ecological Section in connection with (1) the excavation or mining, drilling, blasting, tunneling, dredging, stripping, or shafting, or (2) the transporting, processing, washing, cleaning, screening, crushing, or sorting of industrial silica sand. (b) In the area of the state contained within the boundaries of the Department of Natural Resources Paleozoic Plateau (222) Ecological Section, the excavation or mining of industrial silica sand by any means, including digging, excavating, mining, drilling, blasting, dredging, stripping, or shafting is prohibited within 25 feet of the static water level as measured at the site.

EFFECTIVE DATE.  This section is effective the day following final enactment.

 


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Kathleen Bibus
MMERC/Hamline University
1536 Hewitt Ave, MS-C1924
St. Paul, MN 55104
Ph: 651.645.9005
Ph: 877.891.6379
Fax: 651.645.9490


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