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Dayton says he can't impose frack sand moratorium

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Gov. Mark Dayton says he lacks authority to impose a two-year moratorium on silica sand mining in southeastern Minnesota. Mining opponents delivered a moratorium petition to St. Paul Tuesday as part of an Earth Day rally at the Capitol. The petitions also call for creation of tough state-level regulations to protect air and water quality from the mining of silica sand, which oil and gas drillers use for hydraulic fracturing. Dayton's spokesman issued a statement saying the governor ``lacks the authority to unilaterally impose his own moratorium.'' The Land Stewardship Project launched the petition drive in January.

The group contends Dayton has executive authority to enact a regional moratorium. Dayton previously has expressed reservations about silica sand mining in the geologically fragile karst region of southeastern Minnesota.