There will be no permits for frac-sand mining issued in Winneshiek County for at least the next 18 months.
At Monday's meeting of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors, the Board passed a resolution establishing a temporary, 18-month moratorium on the issuance of conditional-use permits for frac-sand mining in the county.
The resolution excludes silica sand extraction for agricultural and construction use, and gives the supervisors the right to either end the moratorium prior to the 18 months, or extend it if necessary.
Thsupervisors passed the resolution following a Winneshiek County Planning and Zoning Commission public hearing, which drew a large crowd and comments from almost 40 people on the matter. The Commission passed the recommendation to the supervisors on an 8 - 1 vote, and commissioners Wendy Stevens and Donna Rasmussen have volunteered to help the Board with continued study of the issue.
Before the vote, Board Chair John Logsdon said his biggest concern is the impact trucks carrying heavy loads of frac sand would have on the county's secondary road system.
Supervisor Mark Kuhn agreed road use is a "huge issue."
"It's something that may have to go through the Iowa Legislature," said Kuhn, referring to the fact the county would likely pursue a road-use tax like those permitted in Minnesota and Wisconsin, where a county can require companies to pay a certain price, per ton, per loaded mile.
Logsdon added he wants to make sure any research done during a moratorium is finished in a timely fashion and he hopes the Board will receive periodic updates from those still researching the subject.
Kuhn thanked supervisors Dennis Karlsbroten and Dean Thompson for all their work in researching the issue regionally.
Thompson responded, "We need to come back, working with other people, and have for the Board a plan of how we're proceeding, and have a schedule and timeline put together and a plan so the parts come together on this."