Pineland Sands EAW

Here’s a brief summary of current Pineland Sands Area (mainly Western Cass, Hubbard, Wadena and Ottertail counties) developments regarding industrial agriculture.

At this point the 2019 Citizen Petition for Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) in the Pineland Sands Area (third citizen petition) is under DNR consideration. Nitrate contamination of groundwater, surface water contamination, groundwater overuse (which includes private well interference), deforestation, treaty rights and aerial chemical applicators routine overspray of neighboring properties with hazardous chemicals are all very much included in the petition documents.  

The original 30 working days for DNR to address the petition are over, a 15 working day extension has been asked for and received from the Environmental Quality Board that expires Aug. 2. If the 2018 petition is any indicator of when it actually is approved or denied, it took 11 months last time. The DNR denial for the 2018 petition was a Record of Decision loaded with reasons FOR conducting environmental review, so it was a bizarre read.

One of the major points added to the petition this time around is the 1977 USGS aquifer study of the Pineland Sands in which 9- to 12-foor water table drops were predicted and mapped in areas of the aquifer after 20 years of pumping with 320 irrigation wells using 16 inches of water per year on 65,000 acres.

A special note about Crystal Lake on the border between Hubbard and Cass counties: the 6-foot water decline of late when taken in combination with 9-foor water declines in ponds 2 miles south of Crystal Lake should make the current presence of 444 irrigation wells using over 19 billion gallons annually in the aquifer very concerning for everyone. It appears the 1977 modeling of aquifer “development” may be very accurate but it ignores drastic impacts to local ecology and the effects on neighboring aquifers.

Lending support via a phone call to DNR and your legislators will help them get Pineland Sands issues in focus.

For everyone who has:

• Seen chemical drift onto private property during crop spraying.

• Had drinking water contaminated by ag chemicals.

• Lost a functioning well or watched a body of water shrink due to an irrigation rig’s enormous water demand.

If you would like to take action to bring the destruction of the Pineland Sands Area into the spotlight, please contact me.

Mike Tauber, Northern Water Alliance

mjtauber42@outlook.com or 218 675 5717

May the Creator bless humanity and all creation as we walk the narrow path!

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