The Minnesota Supreme Court is in the midst of determining the constitutionality of Winona County’s ban on new frac-sand mine operations there.
Winona Sands, a business that holds leases to mine frac sand deposits in the county, says the ban that went into effect three years ago is unfair because it singles out how sand can be used: silica sand used for construction and livestock bedding was not banned by the county. Yet “industrial minerals, including silica sand used for fracking” were.
Is there a difference between two types of sands, or is the ban really about how the sands are used and if so, is it discriminatory for a county government to regulate such use? Winona Sands claims the latter, and that it bars it from generating $62 million from the land leases.