Petitions call for sand mining moratorium in Minn.

Land Stewardship Project has more than 6,000 signed petitions

Some Minnesotans want their governor to put a hold on controversial frac sand mines.

The group from the Land Stewardship Project has more than 6,000 signed petitions asking Governor Mark Dayton to issue a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining in southeast Minnesota.

The petitions also call for creation of tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality from the mining of silica sand, which oil and gas drillers use for hydraulic fracturing.

The Land Stewardship Project launched the petition drive in January. The group says southeastern Minnesota residents will be traveling by bus to the Capitol in St. Paul on Tuesday to deliver the petitions to the governor. The group says Dayton has the executive authority to enact a regional moratorium.

They stopped in Winona on their way up to the capitol and referenced a survey they commissioned a bipartisan research team to complete in February.

“That shows a majority of Minnesotans oppose an increase in frac sand mining, as well as 64% of Minnesotans are in favor of a two-year moratorium in southeastern Minnesota,” said Kaitlyn O’Connor, petition drive coordinator.

O’Connor said about two-thirds of the signatures came from outside of southeast Minnesota.