Proposal rejected to expand frac sand mine next to river

Burnett County has denied a request to increase activity at the mine near Grantsburg due to concerns about water quality and noise.




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Grantsburg frac sand mine aerial photo
Grantsburg frac sand mine (Photo courtesy Ryan Rodgers)

A proposal to expand the frac sand mine next to the St. Croix River which made headlines in May for spilling sediment into the river has been rejected by Burnett County.

The mining company had applied for permission to use explosives in the operation and to expand the hours during which mining and truck hauling would be allowed. Both requests were denied after the county’s Land Use and Information committee heard opposition from neighbors at a meeting last week.

The Burnett County Sentinel reported that local outfitter Jerry Dorff of Wild River Outfitters said the mine had the potential to hurt his business:

“We own a business within a mile and a half of the mine and we serve paddlers on the river,” Jerry Dorff said. “We can hear them the way it is.”

“We live and work in a national park, and for that privilege, we must be mindful of how we use the land surrounding the park,” Deb Ryun, executive director of the St. Croix River Association. “Those others that make a living from the river— outfitters, river guides, restaurants, and other tourist industries, all can and will be affected.”

Dorff estimates his business alone puts 3,000 paddlers on the section of river next to the mine.

“We have outfitted paddlers who have camped at Sandrock Cliffs who have complained about the noise,” Dorff pointed out. “Our concern is the noise from the mine and what the mine is doing to the value of the river.”

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The company told the planning committee that they can still operate the mine without the changes to their permit.

Looking to the near future, committee members raised concern about the prospect of the truck hauling which will begin from the mine to a processing plan in Minnesota. Hauling is expected to include 12-15 trucks per hour along Highway 70 between Grantsburg and Sunrise, MN.



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