October 25, 2012

Updated map: Frac sand rush slowing

The growth boom in Wisconsin’s frac sand industry appears to be slowing.

In June, the Center found 107 already permitted or proposed industrial sand facilities in the state — 160 percent as many mines, processing plants, and rail load-outs as there had been the previous summer. In the past four months, the number has only grown to 115.

At least 37 mines are now operating, and 41 more have received permits.

At a forum on the frac sand industry in Eau Claire on Monday, Wisconsin Department of Transportation regional planning chief Tom Beekman told the audience that his office has seen a “drop-off in the number of permit applications,” according to the Chippewa Herald.

Anti-mining activists scored several major victories recently, including the denial of permit proposals in Buffalo, Trempealeau, and Eau Claire counties. But market forces may be more responsible than community resistance for the slow-down in applications.

Terry Schmidt, Jackson County zoning administrator, said several companies with permits are just sitting on the land. He added that at one site, mined sand has been stockpiled until prices rise enough to make off-site processing profitable.

Frac Sand Facilities in Wisconsin (October, 2012)

To see the data we used to make this map, click here.

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