Frac sand protesters facing misdemeanor trespass charges were getting ready for trial in Winona County District Court on Monday morning.
Authorities had arrested 35 protesters, part of a larger group organized by Catholic Workers, who gathered at processing and shipping facilities on April 29. The group aimed to stop truck traffic at facilities transporting the sand used in drilling for oil and gas.
“There are so many grave concerns within the community that run the whole gamut of health concerns, environmental concerns, the impact on our water, on our land,” said defendant Diane Leutgeb Munson, 32, of Winona.
The protest cases are scheduled for a joint trial this week. Munson said in an interview that she expected jury selection would be finished by Monday afternoon, followed by a trial that could last through Wednesday.
The health commissioner extended the hours for his upcoming public forum on adding intractable pain to the list of conditions allowed into the state's medical marijuana program. The public can also submit written comments.
The final decision will be up to Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, but if the program expands, the Intractable Pain Advisory Committee hopes there will be additional strictures and precautions for pain patients.