judge sentences twenty frac sand protesters to one year of unsupervised probation

by Tim Phillips

In April 2013, protesters stopped truck traffic for an hour at a frac sand processing site and a Winona, Minnesota commercial harbor. A group called Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining helped organize the protest. According to a February 7 Star Tribune article,

Their initial April 29 protest rallied more than 100 people from nine states to take part in a demonstration they hope will slow or stop the practice of tearing into the Mississippi River’s sandstone bluffs to mine silica sand.

Thirty-five of the protesters were arrested. After some cases were dismissed and some defendants failed to appear in court, a jury found the remaining 20 defendants guilty of misdemeanor trespassing last week. Judge Jeffrey Thompson sentenced the 20 protesters to one year of unsupervised probation, temporarily banned them from returning to the processing site or commercial harbor, and ordered each defendant to pay $85 for court costs and $200 total to the operators they blocked, Brandt Valley Excavating and CD Corp.

At least two of the protesters have said they will not pay the $200 court-ordered restitution.

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