A Greener Indiana

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Sand mining issue is ripping apart the heartland of this country and there's virtually no mainstream media coverage of it.

Although the mining of silica sand has been going on  for many years, the advent of hydro frac drilling for oil and natural gas in recent years has brought on a much greater demand for the silica sand.

The rolling hills and scenic bluffs of western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota hide a valuable resource that has sparked what's been called a modern-day gold rush. The object of desire is not gold but a soft sandstone needed by natural gas, and oil suppliers for hydrofracking. 

Nearly three-fourths of frac sand comes from the Midwest. It's shipped by rail hundreds of miles to the oil and gas fields of Texas, Pennsylvania and North Dakota, where drillers mix it with water, and chemicals.

At least 16 frac-sand mines and processing facilities are operating, and an additional 25 sites are proposed, in a diagonal swath stretching across 15 Wisconsin counties from Burnett to Columbia, it has been found. Chippewa County has seen the most action, as Wisconsin Public Radio’s Rich Kremer reported in June 2011. Most of the mining operations have sprung up over the past three years, stirring concerns about the effects on land and groundwater and health impacts on nearby residents. 

The concern is not  the stuff you can see, but  the stuff you cannot see. Activists say frac sand isn't ordinary sand. They fear fine silica dust from the mines and plants will make people sick, spoil the landscape and contaminate ground.  Fresh, fine silica dust is a well-documented health risk blamed for lung diseases such as silicosis, cancer and autoimmune diseases, but most published research is about workplace dangers. More information is needed about the risks of frac sand mining. Fresh silica dust has grains with sharp, jagged particles and is more dangerous than the weathered silica found in dirt, although it weathers quickly.  Until more is known, it makes sense for Wisconsin and other frac sand states to follow the leads of states like Texas and California in setting environmental silica standards.

 

Some counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin have responded to health and environmental concerns by passing mining moratoriums to buy time for more study. Others are debating whether to hit the brakes on further mine development. Whew! Good for them!

"It's been described by the mining officials as a gold rush," local activists say. "It's a sand rush. A lot of us are saying 'What's the rush?' The sand is going to be here a year from now."

Um......because mining companies know there were no ordinances in place...no  zoning powers. There is a lack of local land-use controls such as zoning that would allow them to manage the land rush. And despite concerns about the health and environmental impacts of such facilities, the state Department of Natural Resources has only a few regulations for sand mining operations. Tsk, tsk!  This only leads to abuse, greed, for the nearly “inexhaustible” supply of this type of sand, which can fetch up to $200 a ton.  

 

http://chippewa.com/news/local/abundance-of-sand-mines-in-auburn-co...

 

http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2011/07/31/sand-mining-surges-in-wisc...

 

http://www.leadertelegram.com/opinions/letters_to_editor/article_f5...

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Checking for rare butterfly.

Are frac sand miners failing to check for rare butterfly?

Posted on January 31, 2012                 by  Kate Golden 

‘They have to let us know they’re there,’ Wisconsin DNR says

In the sand barrens of Wisconsin lives an endangered blue butterfly. Its range overlaps almost perfectly with the sand that’s become a lucrative part of a boom in natural gas drilling.

And to kill a Karner blue without a permit violates federal law.

But of the dozens of frac sand companies that have descended upon the area, just one, Unimin, has applied to the state Department of Natural Resources to to be able to legally destroy Karner blues in its operations, according to David Lentz, who coordinates the agency’s Karner blue butterfly habitat conservation plan.

http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2012/01/31/frac-sand-miners-failing-t...

 

 

 

As of mid-January, the DNR had counted about 60 mines, 32 plants either operating or being built, and 20 more proposed mines — more than double the 41 mines or plants the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism counted in mid-July. 

Something rotten in Wisconsin. New Director of the DNR and Public Health are from TEXAS. Do you think that they  give a hoot about Wisconsin
Read more: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/state-denies-local-request-to...

Frac Sand Mining Issues  by FracDallas.org   A site started by Dallas area residents for responsible drilling. Of course Dallas area residents have been aware of these issues for a long, long time compared to  the residents of S.W. Wisconsin, S. E. Minnesota whom  are being quietly, furtively invaded, by whom else....why, the frac sand miners of Texas  of course., 

 

http://fracdallas.org/docs/sand.html

 

04-27-2012

Pilar Gerasimo

The recent boom in hydrofracking for natural gas and oil has resulted in a little-reported side boom—a sand-rush in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, where we just happen to have the nation’s richest, most accessible supply of the high-quality silica sand required for fracking operations.

Unfortunately most of that silica sand lies beneath our beautiful wooded hills and fertile farmland, and within agricultural and residential communities, all of which are now being ripped apart by sand mines interests eager to get at the riches below. This open pit mining is, in many respects, similar to the mountaintop removal going on in Appalachian coal country—except that here, it’s hilltop and farm field removal. The net effect on our landscape, natural resources and communities is quickly becoming devastating. In the past few months, the sand rush has come to my own rural neighborhood in Dunn County, Wisconsin, which is about an hour east of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Like many residents in Dunn County, I’m concerned about the speed and intensity with which frac-sand mining interests are moving into our area. The proposals and applications for mines and related infrastructure are coming in so fast (our region has seen dozens just in the past few months), most small towns have been totally overwhelmed. Organizations trying to map and report all the activity literally cannot keep up with the incoming data.

http://ecowatch.org/2012/mining-companies-invade-wisconsin-for-frac...

 

great information here.  There is a real gold rush mentality and many are holding out fracking as the future for energy production....unlimited cheap energy.  In an election year with expensive fuel and high unemployment it is all about not pissing anybody off.

 

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