RED WING, Minn. (AP) -

The mayor of Red Wing has been hired to promote the frac-sand industry as the debate continues in southeastern Minnesota over sand mining.

Mayor Dennis Egan says he sees no conflict of interest with his new job as executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. The region has experienced a boom in silica mining, which supplies the oil and gas industry with a vital ingredient for a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Red Wing City Council President Lisa Bayley tells the Star Tribune she has received many "complaints, questions and concerns" from residents about the mayor's new job.

Small communities are trying to balance environmental concerns with economic opportunities the sand mining industry offers. Egan says the Sand Council is interested in promoting the best practices for mining, processing and transportation.