Reading Time: < 1 minute

Main story

Are frac sand miners failing to check for rare butterfly? Jan. 31, 2012

Interactive Map

View locations of sand deposits, frac sand mining operations and the Karner blue butterfly range. Click the image below to open a larger version.


How Unimin dealt with its Karner blues

Further reading

Links, contacts, and frac sand resources

• Air: Mines and processing plants need air permits. Silica exposure is a public health concern, and stray dust has been a source of complaints, so DNR has been sending information to mine operators on how to control it.

• Water: All mines need a stormwater permit. Those using a lot of water need a high-capacity well permit. And if they’re near wetlands or surface waters, other DNR regulations may apply.

• Local regulations. Local governments exert control through zoning, but many mines are in towns that don’t have zoning. Where there is zoning, towns can regulate issues like hours of operation, truck routes and speeds, covering of truck beds, mine depth and road repair liability.

• Reclamation. Mines have to abide by NR 135, the nonmetallic mining reclamation rule. It’s administered by the counties with DNR oversight.

— Adapted from DNR memorandum, January 2012

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

Kate Golden, multimedia director and reporter, specializes in environmental stories and data visualizations.

2 replies on “Permits: What a frac sand mine needs”

  1. Ilive at S1185 St. Hwy 88 Mondovi,Wis in rural Buffalo cty
    In the last month our county board has approved 3 mine permits, with one pending. The problem I have is the mining co. are trying to build mines on state rds, so they don’t have to pay for repairs. They are using roads that in very poor shape and dangerous. They want to run 200 trucks a day on these roads through towns that will
    criple them, because they can’t have that many trucks per day right the main st of theese towns. The mine that is up for a permit right now(tobe approved March8th) is on hwy 88. This road is in very poor shape. With a hill that has already seen 3 deaths and numerous accidents. There are many blind driveways and side rds. In talking to the county board, one of the 3 board members that approve theese permits, in open meeting said why do we have think about the rds.
    I understand on cty roads the mine co. have to pay. That is why they
    are pushing so hard on theese small boards to run st hwys because
    hey don’t have to pay for repairs. Is there any help out there
    totry to stop theese companies? Thank you

Comments are closed.