Enviro officials hear from SE Minn. residents

Mt. Frac
A pile of silica sand dubbed "Mt. Frac" in Winona. Citizens from southeastern Minnesota attended a public meeting in Rochester, Minn. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 to address environmental concerns, including silica sand mining.
MPR Photo/Elizabeth Baier

Residents from across southeastern Minnesota packed a meeting room in Rochester Tuesday to tell state commissioners their priorities for the state's air, water, land and energy resources.

More than 200 people attended the citizen forum held by the Environmental Quality Board. State officials took input from residents on a range of topics, from wind farms to water quality.

Winona resident Jane Cowgill attended because she's concerned about silica sand mining in the region.

"We have a serious, big problem down here in southeast Minnesota and it's going to change our environment incredibly," Cowgill said. "To have to sit through all this, when we want to tell these people we need help. We need to have a statewide moratorium on this."

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Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr told the audience their comments will be the focus of a one-day summit in March.

"As we're thinking what the environmental issues are that we need to be addressing as a state, we get that input directly from you," Landwehr said.

Similar meetings are scheduled in Duluth, Worthington, St. Cloud and Moorhead.

IF YOU GO:

• Duluth - Nov. 28 - Lake Superior College 5:30pm - 8:00 p.m.

• Worthington - Dec. 10 - Worthington High School 3:30pm - 6:00 p.m.

• St. Cloud - Dec. 12 - Stearns County Service Center 5:30pm - 8:00 p.m.

• Moorhead - Dec. 14 - Minnesota State University Moorhead 3:00pm - 5:30 p.m.