The town of Farmington, a rural community on the banks of the St. Croix River south of Osceola, has passed a six-month moratorium on new or expanded quarries. It was passed in response to increased activity at an existing site, which has been opposed by many of its neighbors and other community members.
In a resolution passed Sept. 21, the town board voted to stop issuing permits for such projects until next March. The pause is intended to give a task force it recently created time to research the issue and propose guidelines for new regulations on future proposals.
“The Town of Farmington needs time for the Quarrying Expansion Committee to be able to come up with guidelines for any new mining permits that will protect the residents of Farmington & neighboring communities and will give the Town of Farmington time to implement these guidelines,” the resolution reads.
North 40 Resources, the company operating the controversial pit in the town, has said it is interested in a significant expansion to nearby lands. It has also begun extracting industrial sand, also known as “frac sand,” from the existing pit, in addition to the gravel that has been quarried for a long time.
The town’s Quarrying Expansion Committee was named earlier in September, according to the Osceola Sun. It will include town board member Rick McGuiggan and residents Jason Jensen, Dan Meyers, David Aichinger, Gayle Jensen, Jim LaRue and Dan Guenthner. It will also include Matt Togerson, co-owner of North 40 Resources.
Town board chair Dennis Cottor told the group that his concerns and questions “as a resident and board chairman,” were additional test wells to monitor for groundwater contamination, limiting the mine to 12 hours a day, restrictions in lighting, screening and setbacks, and reclamation.