Silica Sand Projects


The 2013 Minnesota Legislature passed and Governor Mark Dayton signed new legislation to address silica sand mining, processing and transportation operations in Minnesota. The legislation directs state agencies to provide local units of government with technical assistance on regulation and permitting. In addition, the legislation sets new thresholds for environmental review of silica-sand-related operations and requires development of a number of new regulations. 

The legislation directs the Environmental Quality Board to develop new state rules on silica sand (often called "frac sand" or "frack sand"). Rulemaking in Minnesota follows procedures outlined in the Minnesota Administrative Procedures Act (Minn. Stat., Ch. 14).

Mechanisms for soliciting public input on new rules are outlined in the APA; significant opportunities for public participation in silica sand rulemaking will be noticed here. A new rule generally takes between one and two years to develop.

As part of the 2013 Legislation, the Environmental Quality Board was mandated to:

  1. Develop model standards and criteria  for mining, processing, and transporting silica sand: Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects updated 1/5/2017.

  2. Assemble a silica sand technical assistance team to provide local units of government, at their request, with assistance with ordinance development, zoning, environmental review and permitting, monitoring, or other issues arising from silica sand mining and processing operations: Silica Sand Technical Assistance Team

  3. Amend its rules for environmental review, for silica sand mining and processing to take into account the increased activity in the state and concerns over the size of specific operations. The Environmental Quality Board shall consider whether the requirements of Minnesota Statutes, section 116C.991, should remain part of the environmental review requirements for silica sand and whether the requirements should be different for different geographic areas of the state: Silica Sand Rulemaking

During the 2015 special legislative session, the interim EQB threshold was extended indefinitely.

Section 116C.991 Amended

“Until July 1, 2015 a final rule is adopted pursuant to Laws 2013, chapter 114, article 4, section 105, paragraph (d)

CHAPTER 4--S.F.No. 5


Sign up for the Silica Sand Email list

Past version(s):

Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects - March 19, 2014