Nearly Three Dozen Frac Protestors Arrested in Winona

Posted at: 04/29/2013 7:01 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It’s being called one of the largest protests of its kind. More than one hundred concerned activists, speaking out against frac sand mining.   
When dozens of those protestors tried to shut down two businesses, police had to step in.

Law enforcement was there in force, including Winona Police, Winona County Sheriff, Minnesota State Patrol, and Goodview Police. The protesters said they were willing to be arrested for something they believe so strongly in and a short time later, nearly three dozen were.

Standing behind a “Stop Frac Sand” sign and in front of a truck, a group of protestors, stopping work at CD Corp, a trucking company that protestors say ships silica sand down the Mississippi.

"It's unfortunate when it impedes on your business and not only your business it affects the truck drivers, the two drivers, the trickle-down effect, effects everybody,” said Dan Nisbit, owner of CP Crop.

No more than 20 minutes after the protest started, the police arrived, arresting nineteen, according to the Winona Police Department.

“Frac sand mining is bad for this community. And it's bad for the country,” said one protestor.
"I just think it's time that we go deep within our hearts and human creativity, so my daughters can swim in a river and breathe the air when they're my age,” added another.

"To risk going to jail to make sure that this industry stops,” said another protester as he was sitting in the back of a squad car.

Just a few miles across town, sixteen more people were arrested, when they blocked trucks from entering sand processing plant.

"I will leave peacefully, but I'm not gonna leave on my own. You're under arrest for trespassing okay. I understand,” said a protestor.

Protestors say, the drilling method used for natural gas and oil is dangerous to both the environment and our health.

"I teach at a school that's about 6 blocks as the grow flies from here and there's nothing that's guaranteeing that I'm safe with these types of operations happening nearby,” said Will Hesch of Winona.

But some say fracking is beneficial.

"I'm definitely not opposed to fracking, I think for our country to become energy dependent would be a good thing... If we have a hand in that,” said Nisbit.

A controversial issue that some are willing to be arrested for.

Protesters came from all over the Midwest and from nine other states following a weekend retreat led by Winona Catholic Workers. The retreat focused on frac sand mining’s impact to the environment and community as a whole.