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Published April 04, 2013, 10:57 AM

Winona County passes on intense review of sand mine

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — Winona County commissioners won't subject a proposed frack sand mine near Utica to a strict environment review.

WINONA, Minn. (AP) — Winona County commissioners won't subject a proposed frack sand mine near Utica to a strict environment review.

That clears the way for its developers to go ahead with permit approval for the mine on a 20-acre site in Saratoga Township.

Commissioner Marcia Ward voted against an environmental impact statement review at the board's meeting Tuesday, but says the decision is not a "rubber stamp to do mass mining in southeast Minnesota."

Some area residents say they aren't convinced a less intensive environmental assessment worksheet is sufficient to address the potential effects of the mine. The Winona Daily News says plans call for about 200,000 tons of sand to be removed each year from the mine for about three years, at which time the commercially available sand is expected to run out.

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