With a hint of Mr. Smith Goes To Washington in the air, citizens of Lime Township prepare for their trip to the Capitol tomorrow.
A dozen or so concerned citizens from Lime Township will state their case to a committee looking at creating new regulations specific for silica sand mining and refining, and possibly a moratorium to go along with it.
Jordan Sands opponent Lynn Austin says, "When they're talking about these very small particles that we can't see in the air, that's what's going to get us. That's what's going to end up killing us, and it's going to be a lot like asbestos. So in 5, 10, 15 years from now, my grandchildren could very well have silicosis. So is that what it's going to take? Wait until a whole bunch of people have problems and die from lung cancers, and then we'll do something with crystalline silica?"
While there are plenty of air quality regulations in place already, opponents say the dust created in the process needs to be looked at more.
Officials from Jordan Sands will also be making the trip to make their own arguments.
Jordan Sands CEO Scott Sustacek says, "Mining in Minnesota is one of the most regulated industries there is, so not only do we have to answer to the Lime Township officers, the city of Mankato, Blue Earth County, the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency), the Minnesota DNR (Department of Natural Resources), MSHA (Minnesota Safety and Health Administration). Health and Safety have to paramount to what we do and ensuring that best practices are employed."
After the two sides testify, it'll be up to the lawmakers to see which direction they want to go.