December 22, 2014

Frac sand news roundup: ‘Even the smallest communities have the right to decide what does and doesn’t happen’

The latest in Wisconsin frac sand. See our in-depth stories since 2011 on our frac sand project page.

More than 40 percent of the registered voters in the Winona County, Minn.,  township of Saratoga have signed a petition calling for a moratorium on frac sand mining in the area. “Even the smallest communities have the right to decide what does and doesn’t happen in their community,” said activist Johanna Rupprecht. Winona Daily News November 25

Less than one month since the first city in Texas banned hydraulic fracturing, industry supporters are wondering whether they should blame their defeat on Denton’s large college student population. But precinct-by-precinct voting data suggest this probably isn’t the only reason for the ban, Jim Malewitz writes. Texas Tribune November 26

Although many residents still want an outright ban, the Houston County Board of Commissioners has proposed a new ordinance with strict regulations and limitations on frac sand mining. The Minnesota county board is set to vote on March 3. La Crosse Tribune December 3

An administrative law judge has agreed with 10 neighbors who challenged a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s decision to allow FML Sand LLC of Fairmount Santrol to build a sand mine and processing facility in Arcadia, Trempealeau County, without ambient air monitors. Frac sand opponents are still waiting for the DNR to respond to a recent petition for a statewide environmental impact study. Midwest Environmental Advocates December 5

State Senator Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst) has said he is exploring the possibility of introducing another bill to provide statewide regulation of the frac sand mining industry, “although he admits a different approach may be needed after members of his own party backed away from both versions of a bill he introduced last session.” Wisconsin Radio Network December 10

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how the frac sand industry will be affected by the recent drop in oil prices. But overall experts are saying frac sand miners shouldn’t be worried, “there’s no evidence of a slowdown in Wisconsin,” and it’ll take a lot more than a temporary drop in oil prices to change the demand for frac sand, despite a noticeable decrease in rail traffic. Post Bulletin December 11

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources let a general permit for nonmetallic mining operations’ water discharges expire nine months ago, because they didn’t “adequately protect streams from pollution.” But in the meantime, the DNR has continued to allow more frac sand mines to open. Wisconsin State Journal December 17