Status of Rulemaking
In 2013, the legislature directed the DNR to adopt rules pertaining to the reclamation of silica sand mines. The DNR used input gained from a nearly year-long advisory panel process to develop preliminary draft rules. Developing rules can take about two years. The process can take longer to accommodate higher levels of public participation. The DNR published preliminary draft rule for public feedback:
Previous iterations of preliminary draft rule language
In addition to the DNR, MPCA and EQB are involved in implementing the 2013 legislation regarding silica sand mining, processing and transportation in Minnesota. All three state agencies are coordinating their silica sand rulemaking efforts.
The DNR strongly encourages and welcomes public input during the rulemaking process. In the July 22, 2013 edition of the state register, a notice was published requesting public comment for this rulemaking process. The ability for you to comment remains open. Feel free to contact the rulemaking coordinator in writing to submit your comments on silica sand mine reclamation.
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All stakeholders benefit from good mine planning and effective reclamation of mines sites. For the general public, reclamation ensures that post-mining land disturbances are minimized and the site is returned to a safe, sustaining, productive land use. For operators, good mine planning and reclamation promotes efficient mining practices and extraction of a resource. For the environment, good reclamation control dust emissions, prevents soil loss and erosion, and minimized the length and time disturbed lands are unreclaimed.
The Minnesota DNR oversees the reclamation of all metallic mining activities in the state. We have written rules for ferrous, non-ferrous, and peat mineland reclamation. While silica sand reclamation will remain the purview of local units of governments, the DNR rules will set state standards for the reclamation of lands impacted by silica sand mining and encourage the utilization of land after the cessation of mining.
More on silica sand rulemaking
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Silica Sand Rulemaking Advisory Panel (SSRAP)
State silica sand website
DNR silica sand homepage
Silica sand standards
A Handbook for Reclaiming Sand and Gravel Pits in Minnesota
User Guide to Pit and Quarry Reclamation in Alberta - External