Frac sand moratorium deadline looms in Houston County

Public invited to final hearing Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m.

A looming deadline on whether or not to put a ban on frac sand mining in Houston County is causing some last minute meetings among residents.

An educational meeting at the La Crescent Community Center  set up by the Houston County Protectors is intended to encourage more people to attend the final frac sand public hearing Wednesday.

“I am hearing a lot from the constituents of Houston County,” said Dana Kjome, a Houston County commissioner.

Kjome said it’s going to be a busy week.

“My emails and phone calls have really been filling up,” said Kjome.

The county is quickly approaching its moratorium deadline, which prevents the creation of new sand mines in Houston County.

“It’s our second extension for the moratorium and we are coming up on the deadline which is in March,” said Kjome.

Now the county commissioners need to make a decision about how to regulate frac sand mining in Houston County.

“We are working on mineral extraction ordinances to regulate the frac sand mining industry,” said Kjome.

The mineral extraction ordinance created by the study committee will be discussed Wednesday at a public hearing.

“They have recommendations for volume limits and they have definitions about what constitutes different minerals in the industry,” said Kjome.

County commissioners will also be taking public comment from people in attendance.

“This is our last public hearing,” said Kjome.

In an effort to encourage people to voice their opinions at the hearing, the Houston County Protectors are holding an educational meeting.

“There will be some presentation at the beginning, and then there will be a public question and answer,” said Bruce Kuehmichel, member of Houston County Protectors.

Kuehmichel said the meeting is for anyone who has questions or wants to know more about frac sand mining.

“I think it’s very important that people understand this is a momentous decision for this county. This is not a road project or a bridge,” said Kuehmichel.

Kuehmichel hopes the informational meeting encourages residents to speak up and take a few hours out of their day Wednesday to attend the final public hearing.

“It’s going to be a full day for us,” said Kjome.

The speakers at Monday night’s event have all been invited by the Houston County Protectors organization, which is strongly against frac sand mining in Houston County.    

The last public hearing about frac sand mining in Houston County is Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 10 a.m. at the Houston County Courthouse in Caledonia.