Frac sand mining is another threat to the environment here and in much of western Wisconsin. CSP organized a Frac Sand Forum in June 2012. Over 100 people attended. The County put a moratorium on frac sand mining in place and formed a study group of county board, staff and a citizen member. Since CSP had already been working on the issue, the citizen member was our CSP staff person. The county drafted a frac sand ordinance model that all but two townships have adopted in the county, and one township adopted a zoning ordinance that requires a process that includes citizen participation for any large scale operation. However, despite strong opposition from a dedicated group of local residents, and even a lawsuit contesting the decision, Bridgeport Township gave a frac sand mining permit to Pattison Sand of Clayton County, IA, a conditional use permit with no conditions.
In addition, Pattison Sand loads sand across from a neighborhood on residential waterfront zoned property in Prairie du Chien. CSP has supported and spoken at all hearings and meetings on both of these permits. Ultimately, industry has prevailed against the wishes of the residents and the dust in homes of neighbors threatens their health and quality of life on a daily basis. CSP continues to look for ways to positively affect these situations, gathering photos of the operations and watching the WDNR permits and reports. While Pattison Sand has continued to expand at their site in Clayton Iowa to include a large underground mine with surface gravel operation, citizens became highly involved in the process and some conditions were put on that expansion.
Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking)
The Sky is Pink
A short video from Josh Fox (of “Gasland” and “Gasland II” fame) on the “debate” around this industry. We highly recommend his Gasland videos, but this 18 minute video says a lot by itself about the high levels of well casing failures and industry denial efforts.
Fracking and Water Ceres Study
Water Demand by the Numbers
A Ceres Report (2014)
Industrial Sand Mining (Frac Sand Mining)
Non-occupational exposure to silica dust
Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine Study (2012)
Danger In the Air
Silica Particles from Frac Sand Mining Put Tens of Thousands at Risk
Environmental Working Group (2014)
Crispin Pierce, Associate Professor of Nursing at the UWEau Claire shares his Powerpoints on sand mining health concerns and other environmental health issues, including climate change.
Updated work of Dr. Pierce
The Rapid Industrialization of Frac Sand
Impacts on Communities and the Importance of Local Control
Food and Water Watch Issue Brief (2014)
Environmental Impacts of Aggregate and Stone Mining
A New Mexico Case Study (a bit old and there are some different environmental considerations here, but overall still relevant and one of the more comprehensive overviews of environmental impacts on air and water we have)
Center for Science in Public Participation (2004)
Groundwater and industrial sand mining
Common questions and answers “straight from the horse’s mouth”. Comprehensive and telling. Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association (2013)
Tools to Assist Local Governments in Planning for and Regulating Silica Sand Projects
While the Wisconsin legislature is busy trying to remove as much local control as possible from frac sand mines, Minnesota has actually released a long and very useful guide for local municipalities to wishing to draft their own ordinances to regulate the industry. This is very applicable for villages and townships in Wisconsin as well.
Minnesota Environmental Quality Board (2014)
Frack sand mining boom: silica dust, air quality and human health
Article from 2012. EOG failing to pay fines of $100, citizen monitoring revealing silica dust levels over EPA limits, while the DNR continues to measure for particles that are too large and denies there is a problem…
UWEX Sand Mine Economics
What does the research suggest?
The available research on U.S. mining impacts on local communities points to three general conclusions:
~ Land prices tend to be depressed close to the mines and haul routes.
~ Jobs tend to be fewer but higher paying and the low skill jobs tend to be taken by low skilled less educated in-migrants.
~ Mining dependent local economies tend to be more unstable and as such less likely to experience spin-off development.
Sand Point Times
Advocating solutions to protect Southeast Minnesota from frac-sand mining
Frac Sand Frisbee
A blog about frac sand mining in the Driftless Area of the upper Midwest posting useful information, good ideas, updates on events, background information and etc. about the fast moving frac-sand mining conversation with a strong bias towards Buffalo County because that’s where we live.