MPCA permit process slowing down silica sand facility proposal

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Superior Silica Sands was planning to close on acreage in North Branch’s ESSBY Business Park on which it wants to build a trans-loading station for frac sand, but the permit process for the proposed facility has stuck a wrench in the gears of that plan.

The city of North Branch received a letter from Superior Silica Sands July 23 that the business has been working on determining how many permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency it will need to build and operate the trans-loading station.

In discussions with the city, Superior said it appears it would not have the necessary permits to start construction until at least February, so the business would like to pause all work on the project until everything has been ironed out with the MPCA.

North Branch City Administrator Bridgitte Konrad said now it looks like spring of next year would be when Superior would be planning to build in North Branch, and more public meetings at the Economic Development Authority and the Planning Commission would be scheduled before that time and advertised on the city’s website.

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