Silica sand mining saga continues in St. Charles - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Silica sand mining saga continues in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES, Minn. (KTTC)- A decision by the city of St. Charles regarding silica sand mining could be made soon thanks to a petition offered by concerned citizens in the city. It is just one item involved in a busy day regarding the topic of mining.

The petition's intention is to give the St. Charles City Council incentive to make a decision on a proposed mine near the city, and now a doctor from Mayo Clinic is weighing in as well.

"Citizens of St. Charles need to make a decision as to their interest in having this, what the company has told us will be the largest frac sand processing plant in the country, as to whether they are choosing to have it connected to their city or not," says Fred Troendle with Concerned Citizens for St. Charles.

That petition led into an evening meeting at St. Charles Elementary School featuring Mayo Clinic Dr. Wayne Feyereisn, who lives near the proposed site and offered his own personal research. Dr. Feyereisn says that the dust from silica sand is so fine that it could cause significant respiratory issues.

"Scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, the names are not important. You probably recognize those names because you may know someone who has one of these."

As well as other contaminations thanks to the mining, including acrylamide, which is produced after a non-lethal compound is put through the stress and heat of mining sand.

"If you had the weight of a dime in acrylamide and put that in 100 million gallons of water, that 100 million gallons of water would be undrinkable."

Winona County is in the top 80% in the entire country in terms diesel contaminants, a known carcinogen, and that is without the proposed mine.

"Make a decision as to whether or not this is an operation that they want attached to a community of 3,700 people," says Troendle. "And that's one of the biggest questions that they have to answer is this something they want?"

All things for the city to now take into consideration.

Concerned Citizens for St. Charles were taking more signatures for the petition at the Thursday night meeting. There is no word on when the St. Charles City Council will take up the petition, but when they do, it will only be the next chapter in the silica sand mining story.

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