Accessible sand can bring a windfall for some landowners. Others worry that proximity to sand mines is bringing down the value of their homes. And in some communities, a safety net of sorts is emerging.
This western Wisconsin community is in the midst of a land rush — call it a sand rush — fueled by exploding nationwide demand for fine silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas. At least 16 frac sand mines and processing facilities are operating, and an additional 25 sites are proposed, in a diagonal swath stretching across 15 Wisconsin counties from Burnett to Columbia, the Center has found.