Pepin County Bans Frac Sand Mining Along Stretch Of Mississippi River


Pepin County Supervisors have voted to permanently ban frac sand mining along the shores of the Mississippi River.

The ban is the first ordinance of its kind, and supporters are hoping other counties follow suit.

In a 9-3 vote, supervisors agreed to create a 12-mile district where frac sand mining would not be allowed. It stretches from the Pierce County line south along Lake Pepin to the mouth of the Chippewa River. While many other towns and counties have passed moratoriums, which temporarily ban sand mining, this is the first to permanently prohibit industrial sand operations.

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Bill Mavity introduced the ordinance to his fellow supervisors.

Mavity: “I think we’ve done a great job in organizing and rallying the support from the communities down here.”

During public hearings on the ordinance an overwhelming majority of people spoke in support of the ban, saying frac sand mining would devastate tourism by destroying the bluff and clogging local roads with heavy truck traffic.

Steve Grams owns Stockholm General, a gift shop in the Town of Stockholm. He says he and other business owners there are breathing a sigh of relief.

Grams: “It puts some stability in everything, because for the last six or eight months since the sand mines approached the Town of Stockholm about putting a loading facility in downriver we’ve been in a situation where we’re really never quite sure what’s going to happen in regards to our business.”

Supervisor Mavity says now that Pepin County has their ordinance he expects other counties to write their own.

Mavity: “I think what we were able to do will help them think about it and maybe move in the same direction.

During the hearings the frac sand industry was mostly silent, with no representatives speaking against the ordinance.