Protesters Challenge Frac Sand

On Monday, October 1, more than 50 protesters gathered to greet attendees to a Frac Sand conference in Brooklyn Park, MN, a Twin Cities suburb. They included 35 from Winona, right across the Mississippi from Wisconsin, which has had an active frac sand protest movement. Seven protesters were arrested for climbing on top of a charter bus designated to transport conference attendees.

Sand mining is booming in both southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, with the number of Wisconsin sites more than doubling in the past year and a half. Concerns of protesters include toxic chemicals escaping into groundwater and silicosis from fine silica dust created by sand mining operations, not to mention their huge footprint on the rolling hills of the Driftless area. A new WNPJ brochure on frac sand mining is now available for download.

There was a recent victory for residents of Buffalo County who are fighting sand mines there. Because of pressure from citizens, the county zoning board recently denied a permit for a 450-acre frac sand mine proposed by Glacier Sands, months after it denied permits for a drying and loading facility near the Cochraine-Fountain City School. The County Board is considering a six-month extension to its current moratorium on sand mining.