July 31, 2011

Frac sand: Wisconsin mines and plants

Main story

Sand mining surges in Wisconsin July 31, 2011

Map of Wisconsin sites

Click to download a PDF version, which includes credits and a legend.

Click to download a PDF version, which includes credits and a legend.

This list was compiled in July 2011 by Center reporters Jason Smathers, Julie Strupp and Kate Golden. Caveats: It’s not exhaustive. The status of sites may change. And some sites may be listed with just a mine or a plant but actually have both; reporters listed only what they could verify with reliable sources, such as county or company officials. Know of an update? Email kgolden@wisconsinwatch.org.

Summary stats for the 41 sites listed:

  • Active: 16
  • In development: 11
  • Proposed: 14
  • Mines: 28
  • Processing plants: 23

  • http://thinknorthwoods.com Jack Mitchell

    Great information on the frac samd mines in Wisconsin.

    Quick request, I can’t print off your spread sheet with the active and pending permitted mines. can yous send me a link which is printer friendly ?

    • Kate Golden

      Jack: the best thing to do is copy and paste the spreadsheet into a new file.
      -Kate Golden, WCIJ multimedia

  • Karen Smith

    Do you know any more of the specifics of the Marshfield site (Wood County). I live just south of Marshfield and am concerned that they may be moving into our area. As a citizen, what can I do? Is there a meeting I can attend?

    • Kate Golden

      Hi Karen — Sorry, no. Check the link on the right side, or try the Marshfield News Herald directly.

  • kerry held

    You folks are impossible. I happen to be a blue collar guy who is involved in repairing mining equipment. How many of you have been to a mine or a quarry? How about a steel mill or a power plant? What is you degree of expertise on this issue? Your prius and ethanol plants are a hell of a lot worse for the earth that something like sand which is organic, last I heard.

    I would like to know what gives you the right to interfere with my livelihood? Up to this point I have worked 637 hrs of overtime this year, most of it being on site. I was raised up north and graduated from Spooner. I suppose you’re the same folks opposed to the powerlines but complain when your power goes out.

    As I said at the outset, you folks are impossible. You complain that all the good jobs are going overseas. Why do you suppose your kids leave, like I did? Because there’s no FUTURE where you are. You folks better have a whole lot of ammunition before you scare off one of the rare economic bright spots. I want to know what you hypocrites are going to say when a Canadian company owns the quarry, buys machines from china, and hires illegals to operate them. I say this because I know because I have seen it. Keep it up.

    • j. knapp

      My grandfather passed away due to lung cancer. The cancer was silica-based, and he worked in gravel and sand mines during most of his young life. Enron Oil and Gas put a sand plant next to my father’s and grandmother’s house in Chippewa. Once we see how these plants work, and the side-effects of having the plants, I wouldn’t be surprised to see health problems in the immediate area.

      Are we willing to assume the health issues for economic gain? Maybe it is an “economic bright spot”, but I would rather not have to deal with losing another family member due to something that is preventable. Once we realize what evils will come of these plants we’ll see property values plummet and more of a public uproar.

      I respect your input, and you are entitled to your own opinion, but I dont agree with anything you said. I believe that your livelihood is your own issue and it isn’t something that should be brought up as if we are personally attacking you. The whole scope of the issue is bigger than you, it’s bigger than me, it’s more about the environmental consequences and health consequences.

    • Bob

      What the, what the heck are you trying to say, and who are you trying to say it to? I suggest you stop swallowing the AM radio hate bait, and chill out a little.

    • C. Spranger

      Silica’s inorganic, actually — its chemical formula is SiO2, see? No carbon! Stop mixing metaphors.

      Besides that, it’s good to wary when there’s a boom of this magnitude. We’ve got the resources — why not sit on them while we can figure out how much it’s worth and in what matter it’ll leave our state. If you’ve got strong zoning and other land use tools, you can enact the legal and financial tools needed to keep overused infrastructure from becoming a taxpayer burden.

      Plus, do you think any of these companies are based out of Wisconsin? No, most of them are not. Do you think that money they bring in is staying here, apart from the wages? I’d guess again. Yes, jobs are good. But jobs that don’t come with a cost are better. That’s why you keep an eye on it.

    • Ron

      Go slow my friend…..The natural gas and sand has been around a long time. Best check this stuff out real good before we jump in with both feet. If its safe, go ahead, but if we screw up, we will have a mess for a very long time. History is full of examples.

    • gbwi

      I agree with you Kerry.

  • Abdrew

    All I have to ask about all these sand mines opening up, is why there is not any local work coming from these mines.
    They post that they are going to need 100 trucks to haul this sand, so that would mean 100 driver. Where are they getting these people from.
    I know now local guys here in the Mondovi area that would love to get a truck and haul 5-6 days a week. But all local mines are hush hush on work and leave me to believe that they are covering something up.
    Hi Crush just had a large JOB FAIR in Augusta for there sand mine. And hundreds of locals showed up. Why don’t local sand mines offer the same to support the local towns.
    This would not only help them and local families out, but would bring funds into local towns.
    Small towns here in the local area could all use some help in one form or another.
    I’m all for mining sand anywhere as long as we are not left out of the progress that this will bring to the area.

    Thank you
    Andrew Klevgard

  • Jeff

    My wife and I were considering buying a house that is one mile east of the hi-crush processing plant in Augusta, should we worry about air quality?

    • Susan

      Google Minneapolis Tribune, Sunday, March 11, 2012. Read story and view photos of Winona, MN including the car in the lot. It would seem that the level of sand “dust” on the car will be on everything, cars, plants, roofs, everything. What plants, animals, or people can thrive under those conditiona? These are agricultural regions, whether one is directly involved in agriculture or not the food chain is essential to life. What will happen to the food chain under these conditions? Google sand, Eau Claire, and note that UW -EC has a film this week March 15 or maybe 16, free, on sand mining. Let’s not be complacent. there are cleaner industries, cleaner technologies, and renewable and sustainable ways that recognize and respect the land, not rape it and then move on. The pressure goes in more than one direction, and the sudden release of the moratorium in Eau Claire County is chilling, given the fact that according to some articles that the federal goverment is reviewing why frac sand mining was not limited because of water and air quality problems.

      • gbwi

        Susan,

        Again, I ask. What is your job? Do you have money to share with those who don’t? Can you provide jobs for those who do not have one? If you are concerned with the environment then help them figure out a safe way to do this frac mining with minimal “environmental” damage. I love animals and nature too, but my family needs money to have a house, food, etc.

    • scott geiger

      i lived in california 34 years the air there is way worst then a sand mine you be ok

  • http://wisconsinwatch.org Rita

    I still don’t understand how the sand mine works. Are they getting sand for the gas company or are they getting gas where they are digging? I live in Augusta, Bridge Creek area. Do they buy the land and buildings from the farmers? or strickly land? I’ve heard rumors that they pay a lot of money. I would really like to understand the operation better. Any site I could get info from?

  • Mark Brull

    A quick Google search did not show any Hydraulic “Fracking” in the vicinity of Clintonville. But a further search revealed that there are 28 active mines pulling vast amounts of sand out of the ground to be used in the process of Fracking. (Info from: http://wisconsinwatch.org/2011/07/31/frac-sand-wisconsin-sites/).

    Okay, I’m no geologist, but if you take that much material out of the ground, and don’t replace it with something else, doesn’t it make sense that the ground is going to shift to compensate for those newly created voids?

    I lived in Los Angeles during the 1994 Northridge Earthquake (my house bounced on its foundation) and I can sympathize with anyone going through an earthquake. Is it smart to possibly induce long term and possibly permanent damage to our planet for short term financial gain? And very few people actually receive that financial gain (even less than the now famous 1%).

    It’s time for EVERYBODY to get honestly informed about these drastic processes before we allow them to run roughshot over our communities, our planet, and our future generations.

    • gbwi

      Mark,

      What is your job? Do you have money to share with those in need? Or can you provide jobs for those who don’t have one?

  • Pingback: An Open Letter to Our Friends and Neighbors | Save Our Knapp Hills Alliance

  • carter

    Sand Mines have brought jobs to a dying Trempealeau County. We complain about the land but its ok to cut down the trees, kill all the small farms and dump chemicals on the land and the rivers. But when something good happens we want to stop it.

    Make up your minds and remember sometimes it good to put some meat on the table and pay a bill on time for once. We need the jobs or have you not looked at all the people moving out of our area because we have nothing to offer.

  • carter

    I have worked for a sand company for almost 2 yeaers now and I will tell you that we work with in very strick guidelines. Some of you are acting like they are the enemy. Well I am greatful for my job. I have been told that I will have it for as long as I want it. We are not a fly by night operation.

    I can also tell you that if I did not have this job (and I am local) I would be on streets or living on welfare right now. I was in the process of losing my house. My husband and I worked for a company who went out of busness. Our unemployement ran out and we had bill collectors hounding us. Now we can make out house payments and our children have a roof over their heads.

    I just wish that everyone who is against sand mines would look at this from my point of view just a little. I know who am I, right. Well at least i now have a future and my children still have thier home. Jobs come and go but if our comunitty dies we have nothing. Stop being so uneducated and educate yourselfs before you stop the inevitable. I bet your great grandparents would have jumped at the opertunity to have a mine job during the depression. And haven’t you been watching TV, we are in the middle of local depression and they see not end to it anytime soon. If you feel that you need to stand against sand mines at least educate youself first. And always remember you maybe the next one who needs a job and would be willing to sell yourself it it puts food on the table for your children. There are alot of worse things going on out there then sand mines. Have you ever looked at the polution that ASHLEY – IN ARCADIA WI produces. Lots more than any sind mine would produce. Think hard life is a job.

    • gbwi

      Carter, I totally agree with you. My husband just started at the frac mine yesterday and we, like you, were financially in trouble due to losing our jobs. We were contemplating bankruptcy. I thank God he got this job at the frac mine.

  • Cheryl

    It’s not possible to communicate how sick this makes me. I had always thought Wisconsin could be my escape. No longer. When will the destruction and exploitation end? Do these people realize they are selling out for pennies? I’ll buy your damned property for 400K and leave it pristine! Please end the greed. Thank you, Kate, for this critically important story. The madness of destroying the beauty of Wisconsin and the unique driftless region I’ve heard about and so wanted to visit. What a world. What a world.

    • gbwi

      Cheryl, If you have 400K, please share your wealth with those of us who don’t have a job or money!

      My husband just started working at the frac mine yesterday. If it wasn’t for this job we’d be filing for bankruptcy. I lost my job to Chicago corporate greed in 2010 and am still looking for long-term work. At the age of 50 you are competing with 20, 30, and 40 year olds for jobs. Who do you think they’ll hire? My husband’s employment ended in April and we barely were able to buy food, gas, and pay bills. I have a brilliant son who wants to go to college and can’t even get financial aide.

      Don’t tell me we need to “Save the Earth” for you to enjoy! What is your job?

      If anything makes me sick it’s wealthy people who don’t help others!

      I thank God my husband got this job or like I said. We’d be filing for bankruptcy right now.

  • katn

    The sand mines are a great opportunity for locals (directed at whoever said it didn’t offer anything at the local level). We have companies all over Chippewa that are hauling and they aren’t based out of state. Many of the people that I had talked to a couple of years ago, also from this area, that didn’t have a job, now has one working for the sand mines and they are making great money in addition to having great benefits as well. What are you talking about? Get your facts straight instead of talking to the people that are to lazy and don’t have any incentive to work. There is opportunity with these plants.

  • Kelly

    you know it takes millions, yes millions of years for the earth to form top soil which is striped away. The animals, plants and insects that live on the earth where here long before any of us are losing their homes or becoming extinct. We as humans are just a blink in the history of evolution and yet we have done more damage to the earth with the greed and selfishness that is rampant in the world than any other catastrophe in the history of the world all this mining both sand, coal and natural gas is just speeding us on our way. The only thing we are leaving the future generations is destruction and a barren world.

  • Thomas Schreder

    This will be a boom and then it will all end, and the communities will be less than what they were before the sand mining. The money should be used to pay wages but also to invest in future jobs after the mining is completed and land recovery. Don’t be short sighted that jobs now and every thing is great because there is an end…look at the iron mining in the UP, a boom and now high unemployment and no jobs.