WABASHA, Minn. (AP) -- A Wabasha citizens group is appealing a conditional use permit for a frac sand loading facility.
The "Friends of Wabasha" filed the appeal Monday with the City Planning Commission. The group opposes the granting of the permit to Superior Sand Systems last month. The permit allows Superior Sands to build a loading facility for transferring silica sand from trucks onto trains for transport to North Dakota and Texas for use in the oil and gas extraction process called hydraulic fracturing.
The sand would be trucked in from western Wisconsin. The permit allows up to 250 trucks to enter and exit Wabasha each day.
KAGE Radio reports the group claims the permit was issued without the commission assessing impacts on traffic, tourism and nearby St. Elizabeth's Hospital and another business.
From December 26:
WABASHA, Minn. (AP) -- Wabasha's planning commission has unanimously approved a permit for a permanent facility to process Wisconsin sand.
A Rochester Post-Bulletin report says the Superior Sand System plant will be used to store silica sand and load it onto rail cars.
Some citizens urged the city council to require an environmental assessment. But the members decided the conditional-use permit was enough.
Also, the plant is on railroad land, where federal regulations override local ones. The only power the city has is to regulate trucks.
The council did impose a number of conditions. For example, the company can't bring in more than 280 trucks daily, can't exceed noise limits and can't chemically process the sand there.
The sand is used for "fracking," a process to fracture rock to release oil or gas.