Frac sand mining isn't much of an issue in Washington County, but those organizing a forum tonight in Mahtomedi say that could change.
"It's mainly just education. Just to bring awareness to people about what happens when there's a mining proposal that comes to your community," said Becky Siekmeier of the League of Women Voters, which helped organize the forum.
Washington County has one site where silica sand is being mined. But forum organizers say the oil drilling in North Dakota is expected to continue for decades, and more sand will be needed for the process known as hydraulic fracturing.
Residents across the border in Wisconsin have complained that frac sand mining has been a nuisance and has damaged the environment. People here want to avoid some of the problems, Siekmeier said.
"Things got up and running and caught people off guard," she added. "Small communities were really caught by surprise and didn't have good zoning laws and different things in place because they just never had to think about anything like that before. And so it just seemed like Minnesota could learn from what was happening in Wisconsin and try to get ahead of it."
DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and former Red Wing Mayor Dennis Egan, who now represents a mining industry group, are among the speakers expected at tonight's forum.
If You Go:WHERE: White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church, 328 Maple Street, Mahtomedi, Minn.
WHEN: 7 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
More information here