"ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld Winona County’s ban on the mining and processing of silica sand, which is used in the oil and gas industry for hydraulic fracturing.
A divided high court affirmed a 2018 ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals, which rejected a challenge to the county’s 2016 ban filed by Minnesota Sands LLC. The company, which held five mining leases at issue in the case, argued that the ban was unconstitutional.
But the Supreme Court agreed 4-3 with lower court rulings that Winona County’s ordinance was constitutional. The southeastern Minnesota county imposed the ban out of concerns about the environmental and health impacts of silica mining and processing."