EQB releases final draft of silica sand standards

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Environmental Quality Board has released a final draft of model standards for regulating the silica sand mining industry in Minnesota.

The EQB intends it to be a toolbox of resources local governments can use as they consider how to regulate silica sand, an industry that has boomed in the region because oil and gas drillers use it for hydraulic fracturing. The EQB is expected to approve the document when it meets March 19 in Rochester.

The EQB's executive director, Will Seuffert, says the final draft contains a number of additions and changes since the last draft was put out for public comment. He says the EQB staff did the best they could to address the comments, which he says were pretty balanced between the industry and its critics.

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