RED WING, Minn. - The 16,000 residents of Red Wing don't have to yell about it on Main Street, they know."This is essentially ground zero for frac sand mining," Red Wing City Council president Lisa Bayley said of the issue facing this city Wednesday night.
It isn't ground zero yet, since the city passed its ordinance for those wanting to mine last fall no proposals have been submitted to do so.
But trouble is brewing because the leader of this town just took a second job as the executive director of the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council. In essence Mayor Dennis Egan will lobby for six companies who mine for frac sand.
"I personally just don't see how these two positions can be compatible and some time you have to decide one or the other," Bayley said.
Mayor Egan, in his first full term, sees no issue at all.
"I just don't see that there is a conflict," Egan said.
Egan claims he is on the side of what is best for Red Wing, first and foremost.
He says that is why he signed off on the ordinance last October making the rules very restrictive for any company that wants to mine frac sand in his city.
But some residents aren't buying it.
"It's embarrassing. It's discreditable and it kind of makes a laughing stock of the city of Red Wing that the mayor would do this and think he could get away with it," resident Alan Muller said.
Mayor Egan says he has no plans to resign, as he sees no issue with holding both jobs.
He says Red Wing voters knew he lobbied controversial issues when they voted for him last November and that his client, the Minnesota Industrial Sand Council, isn't poaching on his area for sand.
"Their interest, the group that I am working for, those mines those family owned Minnesota businesses are not looking at mining the bluffs, not looking at mining this area," Egan said.
That isn't easing the mind of council president Bayley who thinks Mayor Egan is overstepping his first job by taking the second one.
"If you are going to lobby and hold an elected position you should be very careful about that and those two things cannot touch," Bayley said.