January 6, 2015

Frac sand news roundup: DNR ‘needs to step up … even if that means calling a statewide timeout’

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

A neighborhood group in the city of Prairie du Chien is planning a petition to prevent the building of a proposed $1 million frac sand loading facility. The petition is in response to a century-and-a-half-old loophole which allows Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Co. to go ahead with the facility even though the city denied it a zoning permit. December 19 SW News 4U

Citing environmental mishaps and permit lapses in 2014, an editorial from a paper in the heart of frac sand country calls for the DNR to “step up its game” on regulating the industry. December 28 Leader-Telegram

The Houston County Board of Commissioners in Minnesota says concerns over possible mining in Houston County took up most of its time in 2014. And despite potential ordinances on the table to impose strict regulations if mining should occur, some residents aren’t convinced it will work. December 30 Post-Bulletin, January 2 Winona Daily News

When it comes to fracking, air quality concerns took center stage in 2014. A number of studies cited air pollution around fracking sites while reports emerged that fracking guidelines and regulations are sorely lacking in many regions. Wisconsin is the nation’s No. 1 producer of frac sand, the sand that is used in the fracking process. December 30 Inside Climate News

According to PacWest Consulting Partners, 60 percent of sand companies’ business is now tied to fracking. Fracking companies have already been affected by the recent drop in oil prices, but the sand companies which supply a major ingredient to the fracking process are still waiting for the blow. Before the drop, demand in sand was predicted to steadily increase, but now PacWest experts expect demand to stay flat. January 1 Wall Street Journal