The Latest News on Minnesota & Wisconsin Frac Sand

by Duane Nichols on February 14, 2015

Seven Frac Sand Train Cars Jump Over

Fracking Sand Mining in MN and WI has Become Extreme, Damaging, and Dangerous

From an Article by Taylor Chase,, February 10, 2015

Our in-depth stories since 2011are on our frac sand project page.

derailed train outside of Uniontown, Penn. spilled frac sand within six feet of a residential home. A former University of Pittsburgh public health dean said if he lived there, he would consider moving. <Pittsburgh Post Gazette January 22, 2015> < See video here: >

After several months, Houston County, Minn.’s planning commission has finally approved an ordinance on frac sand mining that will go next to the county board. Chairman Dan Griffin said this final version of the ordinance strikes the right balance between protecting citizens from potential impact while allowing the county to get some of the economic benefit. <The Caledonia Argus January 27, 2015>

Frac sand mining opponents throughout Minnesota have been calling out government bodies and officials recently. In St. Paul, with help from the Land Stewardship Project, residents protested an informational meeting for not allowing public participation. And in Houston County, a county board member questioned the propriety of closed-door meetings, while a longtime resident complained, “I hope one of these new mines opens up next to you.”  < andChannel 8000 January 27, 2015>

After a two-year delay, Minnesota Sands LLC has restarted planning for a four-county-wide frac sand operation. The renewed effort was sparked again after the company delivered $130,450 to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board for an extensive environmental review, money the state had required two years ago when the operations were first proposed. < The Star Tribune February 4, 2015>

But enough about Minnesota. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has announced it will be moving forward with plans for a strategic analysis of the frac sand industry in the state. The department will begin with a public comment period throughout February and March. This comes after a statewide petition last fall from the nonprofit Madison-based law firm. < Midwest Environmental Advocates.WDIO January 28, 2015>

<< 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. >>

Photo: A conveyor pours crushed sand into a stockpile before it is washed and sorted by grain class size at Preferred Sands mine in Blair, WI.


Hold leaders accountable, addend public hearing on February 18, 2015

From an Article by Jim and Cindy Hobelsberger / La Crescent Township, February 11, 2015

We want to remind residents of Houston County that your county board of commissioners is holding the last public hearing on the proposed mineral extraction and mining ordinance to address frac sand mining at 10 a.m. Wednesday, February 18th, in the commissioner’s room at the courthouse. If at all possible, please attend and voice your opinions on this important issue. Your commissioners need to hear what you want this decision to be.

If you’ve been following the development of the proposed ordinance, you are aware of the dysfunction, lack of credibility, and personal agendas that appear to be at work within our county government and are ultimately undermining our rights as citizens. We live in a democracy where our elected officials and appointed leaders are supposed to make decisions based on what their constituents want and what is in the best interest of all, not just a select few or worse yet, to support their personal biases.

If you have attended any planning commission or county board meetings, viewed the recordings of those meetings on the Houston County website ( or had a discussion with some of the county commissioners, you quickly perceive there are certain individuals who demonstrate a strong intent to control the outcome of this decision and will not consider a ban on frac sand mining, regardless of what the people want. The term “dictatorship” comes to mind. If you haven’t been following or engaged in this issue, you need to do so now.

Contact your county commissioners and attend the public hearing. Based on our personal experience, we recommend contacting them as a group via email so they all get the same message and can hold each other accountable in their response. Make your voices heard and hold your elected leaders accountable to do their job.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: