The City of Red Wing Advisory Planning Commission and Red Wing Sustainability Commission conducted a Public Open House and Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 26, 2012. Citizens reviewed a draft report that was dated June 20, 2012 and provided comments and discussion about the draft report. The two commissions met on July 17, 2012 and July 24, 2012 to review these comments and make revisions and recommendations and now have completed a July 31, 2012 Draft of the report that will be presented to the City Council for informational purposes at a council meeting scheduled for August 13, 2012. The two commissions expect to receive some initial feedback from the City Council and then meet on August 21st in a joint session to adopt the final version of the Report. This report will be presented to the City Council for action at the council meeting scheduled for August 27, 2012. Formal zoning ordinance amendments will be considered by the Red Wing Advisory Planning Commission and City Council in September and October of 2012.
The Draft Report provides a summary of background information about the growing industry related to mining, processing, and transporting silica sand that is used in the hydrofracking process involved in the petroleum and natural gas extraction industry. The Draft Report includes sections that describe the potential environmental impacts of these operations; explains where silica sand used for fracking can be found in the Red Wing area; shows how the City’s Comprehensive Plan shapes the policies related to mining and processing operations; and includes a description of the existing regulatory framework that is currently in place locally and at the State and Federal level. The report is concluded with a section that describes alternative regulatory approaches that Red Wing could pursue. The two commissions have also developed a recommendation section of the report that suggests a number of changes to the Red Wing Zoning Ordinance that if adopted will severely limit and manage potential mining and processing of silica/frac sand operations within the City of Red Wing.
Copies of the July 31, 2012 Draft Report can be obtained by going to the City Web Site, at: http://www.red-wing.org/silicasandmining.html or by contacting the Red Wing Planning Department at City Hall, 315 West Fourth Street, Red Wing, MN 55066.
Brian C. Peterson, AICP
City of Red Wing