New silica sand mining advisory panel formed

Two state agencies in charge of regulating the silica sand mining industry are creating a new advisory committee.

The Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are looking for citizens, local government leaders, and silica sand industry officials to provide advice as they draft rules for the industry.

The two agencies want varied representation from parts of the state where silica sand is mined, processed and transported.

Silica sand is used in the oil and natural gas extraction process known as fracking. There are large deposits of this frac sand in the steep bluffs along the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota.

The advisory committee is expected to meet monthly at one of the agency's offices in St. Paul, starting as early as December.

The deadline for anyone interested in serving on the advisory committee is Nov. 29.

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