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Houston County Home
Breaking News and Action Alerts
Houston County Planning Commission
Erickson Mine
Erickson Mine in Houston, MN
Minnesota Sands prepares to haul away it's first bluff
Scenic state highway 16 has a new neighbor, Minnesota Sands LLC has leased the existing sand mine on Tracie and Michelle Erickson’s property at 23148 State 16 and plans to haul out two million cubic yards of sand before year-end.
Houston County permitting process requires permit to be renewed every five years. With the Erickson's current mining permit expiring on Jan 8, 2013, and the moratorium affecting the terms of their renewal, Minnesota Sand has only 7 months to haul the anticipatd two million cubic yards. This means full speed ahead.
The proposed haul route from the mine will be west on HWY 16 to HWY 43 North through Rushford (past the high school) and on up the hill to Winona. Anyone living on or near this haul route stands to be impacted not only by the increase in heavy truck traffic, but by the dust, noise, decrease in property value, and the general threat these vehicles pose to their health, safety and welfare.
According to the Houston County Highway Engineer, it will require 100,000 semi tractor-trailer trucks full of sand. If they started hauling on Monday, June 18, it would generate 575 trucks per day, six days per week through downtown Rushford on its way up to Winona.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, Minnesota Sand also submitted an application to the DNR for a water permit to be used on the Erickson Mine. The application approximated 42-84 million gallons of water per year to be pumped for use in an on site sand processing/washing facility. This raises even greater health and safety concerns. Water depletion of neighboring wells is an obvious threat, but the chemicals used in sand processing facilities contain known neurotoxins and carcinogens, which, if introduced to our contamination susceptible Karst geology can travel long distances underground, polluting our wells, springs, streams, rivers and the fragile ecosystems that reside there.
This mine will bring with it dirty, noisy and dangerous industrial-scale activity on a main thoroughfare of Houston and Fillmore Counties, and this is only the beginning. Help us stop this! Save the bluffs, save your wells, remind the Houston County Commissioners that their job is to first and foremost to, “protect the health safety and welfare of Houston County Citizens” and that this mine, and others to come pose an imminent threat to residents.
Help stop this now, before it spreads to your backyard.
News & Information - Timeline of Events
Planning Commission Tables Mine Renewal
The Houston County Planning Commission got an earful from residents on Wednesday, April 30. More than 30 persons packed into the former courtroom - now the commissioner's room, and arguments were as intense as in any court case over the renewal of a controversial conditional use permit (CUP) for Tracie Erickson of Yucatan Township…
>> watch video
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, May 13, 2014
Landowners Dissolving Relationship with Frac Sand Company; Ask to Mine Construction Sand
Renewal of a conditional use permit for Tracie and Michelle Erickson, of Yucatan Township – handed in to the Houston County Planning and Zoning Office in November 2012 – has resurfaced and now demands attention from the county. The permit was held up for months due to ties the Ericksons had with Minnesota Sands, an industrial frac sand mining company…
Source: The Caledoina Argus, Emily Bialkowski, March 18, 2014
County Approves Another EAW Firm, Road Project Approved
Houston County commissioners approved another consultant to review the Tracie Erickson Frac Sand Quarry environmental assessment worksheet (EAW) on Dec.18, one week after they were told that their original choice had turned down the job.…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moohead, December 26, 2012
 
Keeping Houston County Citizens Informed and Involved - Frac Sand Mining
What is frac sand? It is new? Is it harmful? I am frequently asked these and other questions about frac sand mining. My responses are as follows…
Source: The Houston Banner. Justin Zmyewski, Houston County Commissioner District 2, December 20, 2012
 
Houston Quarry Can't Mine Silica During Moratorium
The owner of a quarry near Rushford who wanted to mine silica sand while Houston County's moratorium on silica sand mining remains in effect has lost a court battle. Minnesota Sands LLC, Tracie Erickson and Michelle Erickson sued the county, seeking to have a cease-work order lifted on the quarry. But Wabasha County District Court Judge Terrence Walters denied it Nov. 27…
Source: Rochester Post Bulletin, John Weiss, December 19, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mine Denied Request to Operate During Moratorium
A Houston County frac sand mine won't be allowed to operate during the county's moratorium, a judge has ruled…
Source: Winona Daily News, Tesla Rodriquez, December 4, 2012
 
Houston County Progressing Through Sand Mine Issues
The Houston County Board is making headway in the complicated world of frac sand mining regulations. The board unanimously approved hiring a third party consultant to review the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) that Minnesota Sands is producing on the proposed Erickson mine located on the border of Houston County…
Source: Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, November 27, 2012
 
EAW Consultant for Frac Sand Mine Approved by County
On Nov. 20, Houston County commissioners voted to contract with Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) for an independent review of a controversial environmental assessment worksheet (EAW)…
Source: Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, November 20, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mine Takes Houston County to Court
A Houston County mining company and two mine owners are asking a Wabasha County judge to allow them to continue mining and processing sand in Houston County, after the county ordered them to stop because of the county’s ongoing moratorium.…
Source: Winona Daily News, Tesla Rodriquez, October 19, 2012
 
Public Outcry Heard Over Environmental Assessment Worksheet
An August decision by the county board to order an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) on the mine is being executed, but members of the public were astounded to learn the firm preparing the worksheet is G-Cubed, a firm they say has too many connections to the operation to perform unbiased work…
Source: Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, October 16, 2012
 
Frac Sand Moritorium Adopted in Yucatan Township
The Yucatan Township has imposed a one year moratorium on frac sand mining within its borders. The move, which was passed 2-1 by the Yucatan Board of Supervisors on Sept. 11, curtails development of a frac sand mine on the Tracie Erickson property at 23148 State Highway 16…
Source: Tri-County Record, Ron Witt, October 10, 2012
 
Committee Member Says Study Committee Is Stacked
Each and every time the county discusses frac sand mining and the lack of regulation surrounding it great one-liners are sure to follow. The often emotionally-charged topic continues to occupy board and committee meetings as Houston County tries to wrap some sort of authority around mining…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, August 14, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mining Moratorium Amended
On July 24, the Houston County Board voted to add language to an interim zoning ordinance originally passed on March 12…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, July 31, 2012
 
Commissioners Lift Stop-Work Order on Frac Sand Mine
Following an hour-long closed session with their land-use attorney (Jay Squires) via conference call, the Houston County Board of Commissioners voted to lift a stop-work order for a controversial frac sand mine near Rushford on July 17…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, July 24, 2012
 
Mine Isn't Part of Moratorium — Neighbors Raise Objections
Some neighbors are up in arms after a long-unused sand quarry possibly containing American Indian burial mounds will be mined for large quantities of frac sand…
Source: The Rochester Post Bulletin, Jill Jensen, July 23, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mine Open for Business
The frac sand mine on the property of Tracie and Michelle Erickson is operational. An unprecedented turn of events forced Houston County’s hand in the matter and is preventing legal action against the county…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, July 18, 2012
 
Stop-Work Order Issued
On July 10, the Houston County Board of Commissioners voted to issue a stop-work order for the Erickson frac-sand mine near Rushford…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, Craig Moorhead, July 17, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mine Near Rushford May Have Sacred Tribal Graves
The possibility of a sacred tribal burial ground being disturbed is yet another issue surrounding the controversial frac sand mine opening in Houston County near Rushford, and on June 26, the Houston County Board of Commissioners heard concerns from yet another group…
Source: Tri-County Record, Clay Schuldt, July 11, 2012
 
Native American Burial Grounds May Lie On Property
The frac sand mining debate that has occupied the Houston County Board took a new turn Tuesday, June 26 when tribal representatives and attorneys requested attention be given to the possibility that native burial grounds and/or mounds might be located on the property…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Emily Bialkowski, July 03, 2012
 
County Board Probes Frac Sand Dispute
The Houston County Board decided at its June 19 meeting to delay any decision on the legality of the frac sand mining operation until its next meeting. County commissioners heard arguments from both sides regarding the sand mine that has been open two miles from the border of Fillmore and Houston counties border off Highway 16…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Clay Schuldt, June 26, 2012
 
Attorneys Argue Before County Commissioners About Frac Sand Mine
Houston County's Historic Courtroom heard the sound of legal arguments once more on June 19, when three attorneys addressed the Houston County Board of Commissioners in their new meeting room. At issue is whether or not a CUP (conditional use permit) for an existing sand mine in northwestern Houston County is still valid…
Source: The Spring Grove Herald, June 26, 2012
 
Sand Mining Operation Issues Aired at County Board Meeting
The first real test of the county’s moratorium on new silica frac sand mining operations may be brewing. County Zoning Administrator Bob Scanlan informed the Houston County Board that Minnesota Sand plans to “pull out huge amounts of sand” from an existing sand mining operation on the Tracie and Michelle Erickson property, located just north of Ferndale Golf Course in the northwest corner of Yucatan Township near the Houston-Fillmore county line.
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Charlie Warner, June 7, 2012
 
Related Videos
May 13, 2014 Houston County Board Meeting
Video: Erickson Mine Update 5/13/14 Powerful public comment was given during the first 15 minutes of the May 13, 2014 Houston County Board meeting, shedding light on an alarming lack of supervision of employees, as well as a shocking and blatant lack of impartiality on the part of one County Commissioner.
Video: Planning Commission 4/30/14  The Houston County Planning Commission got an earful from residents on Wednesday, April 30. More than 30 persons packed into the former courtroom - now the commissioner's room, and arguments were as intense as in any court case over the renewal of a controversial conditional use permit (CUP) for Tracie Erickson of Yucatan Township…
Video: Erickson Mine Update 3/11/14
This footage was filmed at the March 11, 2014 Houston County Board Meeting.
Video: Mining in Bluff Country? Tom Driscoll interviews local residents concerned about a proposed industrial sand mine opening in Houston County.
>> view all videos
What You Can Do to Help:
Start A Conversation
Talk to your families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about industrial scale mining in Houston County. Share with them links to our website and encourage them to learn more about the dangers that industrial-scale mining pose to our area.
Write Letters to the Editor
Concision matters! Most of the papers have a 250 word limit! Include your full name, home address and daytime phone number or they reject your letter
EMAIL CONTACT & WEB SUBMISSION FORMS:
Caledonia Argus
Bluff Country Newspaper Group
(Bluff Country Reader, Chatfield News, Republican-Leader, Spring Grove Herald, Spring Valley Tribune, Tri-County Record
Filmore County Journal
Houston Banner
Houston County News
La Crosse Tribune
Rochester Post Bulletin
Tri-County Record
Winona Daily News
Winona Post
Contact County Commissioners
Share with them your concerns about industrial scale frac sand mining
1ST DISTRICT
Judy Storlie
507-895-8994
judy.storlie@co.houston.mn.us
2ND DISTRICT
Justin Zmyewski
507-450-8297
justin.zmyewski@co.houston.mn.us
3RD DISTRICT
Steve Schuldt (County Board Chair)
507-724-3639
steve.schuldt@co.houston.mn.us
4TH DISTRICT
Teresa Walter
507-895-2446
teresa.walter@co.houston.mn.us
5TH DISTRICT
Dana Kjome
507-498-5676
dana.kjome@co.houston.mn.us
>> view printable list
 
 
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