Wabasha's City Council has upheld a conditional use permit for planned silica-sand transfer facility without an environmental review, but it has also called for an environmental review of a smaller plant that wants to expand.
The Post-Bulletin of Rochester reports the difference came down to location.
The Superior Sand Systems plant would receive and store silica sand from Wisconsin for loading onto railroad cars that would take it to oil and gas fields for hydraulic fracturing. Because it's being built on railroad land, City Attorney Peter Ekstrand says federal law preempts much of the city's power to oversee and control it.
The vote to back the permit was 6-1. But the council voted 4-3 to for a review of a proposed expansion of a nearby facility not on railroad land.