Our Reports

Podcast: Head in the (frac) sand

Reporter Alison Dirr just finished a yearlong internship with us, during which she covered the sprawling beat of Wisconsin’s fast-growing frac sand industry. We talk about that in the latest podcast. And below the audio link, further reflections from Dirr. Also, we now have music for the podcast. Alison Dirr: After a year as WisconsinWatch’s frac sand beat reporter, I’m leaving with a real appreciation of the complexity and nuance of this controversy.

State Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, said at a Monday legislative hearing that he wants to prevent local governments from changing local regulations in ways that hurt existing and permitted nonmetallic mines.

New frac sand bill still divides

A legislative hearing Monday on a revised attempt to limit local governments’ authority to regulate nonmetallic mining, including existing frac sand mines, drew support from mining representatives but opposition from town leaders.

Frac sand health fears rise as mining booms in Wisconsin

Like some other west-central Wisconsin residents, Frances and Dean Sayles are frustrated with the state Department of Natural Resources’ lack of a comprehensive approach to addressing concerns surrounding potential health problems from crystalline silica dust. Now some residents, academics, local government officials and even a frac sand producer have begun taking action.