- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

CALEDONIA, Minn. (AP) - A county board in in the southeast corner of Minnesota has backed away from banning silica sand mining.

At a contentious meeting Tuesday, the Houston County Board voted 3-2 against adding a ban to the county’s mining ordinance, and against an ordinance that would regulate the industry, which supplies sand that’s used by oil and gas drillers for hydraulic fracturing.

The outcome was an abrupt about-face from the board’s 5-0 vote last month to give preliminary approval to the ban.

Sand mining opponents cite health concerns and fears of damage to the region’s groundwater and scenic bluffs. The meeting got so heated that deputies removed some people for disruptive behavior.

Houston County’s three-year moratorium on silica sand mining expires Thursday, but it no pending projects or permits at the moment.



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