On Monday, March 17, the Community Rights Alliance of Winnesheik County met with the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors for an update on the rights-based ordinance to ban frac-sand mining in the county.

At that time, CRA had gathered over 800 signatures (more than 500 from Winneshiek County) on a petition that states the signers want an outright ban of industrial frac-sand mining, via a rights-based ordinance. 

Also shared were copies of rights-based ordinances passed in the cities of Pittsburgh, Penn., Oneonta, N.Y., and in Mora County, N.M. The ordinances provide examples of specific corporate projects being stopped by communities using a rights-based approach.

Members of the Board of Supervisors commented on having gone back to their history books to gain insight on the fundamental rights and responsibilities of citizens, corporations and the state, and how to best protect the county. 

As CRA member Heidi Olstad noted, “Community Rights work is all about this kind of engagement and research. The history of the American revolutionaries, suffragists, abolitionists and civil rights workers provides great insight into the ongoing responsibility of ‘We, the People,’ to preserve Democracy.”

The CRA will continue to gather signatures and educate interested community members through living-room conversations and small group gatherings. CRA is also part of a regional support network in the Driftless Area that is working to prevent industrial frac-sand extraction (mining) from spreading further into the region.

In a note of thanks, Olstad, speaking on behalf of CRA concluded, “There is great value in all of the work the Board of Supervisors has done around the issue of industrial frac-sand mining. They are honorably fulfilling their oath to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Winneshiek County. CRA looks forward to furthering the conversation with the Board of Supervisors and the broader community about using a rights-based approach to protect our county.”

Learn more about CRA at communityrightsalliance.org.