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The Basics Home
Frac-Sand Mining
Fracking
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When Big Energy comes to town
News and Information
And Now the Defense: Frac Sand Protesters Smile, Take the Stand
WINONA — The trial in Winona County District Court against dozens of frac sand protesters fighting misdemeanor trespassing citations is entering its third day…
Source: Winona Daily News, Hannah Jones, February 5, 2014
 
Winona Frac Sand Protesters' Trial Enters Third Day
WINONA — The trial in Winona County District Court against dozens of frac sand protesters fighting misdemeanor trespassing citations is entering its third day…
Source: Rochester Post Bulletin, Brett Boese, February 5, 2014
 
First They Ignore You, Then They Laugh At You: Frac Sand Mining Controversies Gaining National Stage
One early response to grassroots opposition to frac sand mining in the driftless region's working landscape was "It's just sand." Now, as the issue continues to gain national coverage--despite the absence of most of the state's environmental groups in the citizen-led battle--the oil and gas industry are testing that message again…
Source: Bluestem Prairie, August 25, 2013
 
In Wisconsin, County Commissioner is Accused of Self-Dealing Over Frac Sand
WHITEHALL, WIS. – A Wisconsin prosecutor is investigating allegations that an elected official in the state’s most active frac sand county used his office to advance his own sand mining interests while cloaking them in secrecy…
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tony Kennedy, August 17, 2013
 
Protesters Make Last-Ditch Efforts Against Mine Near Starved Rock
A group of six to eight protesters spent Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon holding signs, such as “Honk if you hate the sand mine” at the east edge of Starved Rock State Park. The group is trying to prevent the opening of a frac-sand mine at that location…
Source: Illinois Valley News Tribune, Craig Sterrett, August 17, 2013
 
Suit Challenging Gilmanton Frac Sand Mine Denied
A Pierce County Circuit Court judge recently upheld the county’s Board of Adjustment decision to permit the mine, which raised concerns about safety because the truck hauling route ran south along state Hwy. 35 past the Cochrane-Fountain City School…
Source: Winona Daily News, David Brommerich, August 14, 2013
 
Frac Sand Mine Proposed Near School Sparks Battle In Small Wisconsin Town
After winning just one game the previous year, the Glenwood City Hilltoppers football team reveled in taking home the Wisconsin Division 7 state championship last season. And in typical small-town fashion, the whole community rallied behind them, recalled Chris Schone, whose son quarterbacked the junior varsity squad. But now, Schone said, something is "tearing the community apart." A nearly 400-acre open-pit frac sand mine has been proposed for a site less than half a mile from the school…
Source: Huffington Post, Lynne Peeples, June 1, 2013
35 Arrested in Winona Frac Sand Protests
Thirty-five people were arrested for trespassing during a large protest against frac sand Monday morning staged at two separate locations in Winona… (view photos)
Source: Winona Daily News, April 29, 2013
Sand Mine Rules Melt Under Pressure: To escape a strict permit in one township, a mine was annexed by a nearby city with lax restrictions
The maneuver stands as an example of the way mining companies are leveraging jobs and money to exert their will in the small communities of southeastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, where a sand rush has led to the permitting of more than 100 facilities in the past four years. It also shows how, in the absence of statewide oversight, local units of government are competing for sand mines at the expense of consistent standards…
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, Tony Kennedy, February 3, 2013
Letter to the Editor: Don't Glorify Firms' Frac Sand Reclamation Plans
Dear Editor: The recent article by Kate Prengaman in the Cap Times on frac sand is a good and informative article, but based on the info from a contact in the oil business there may be more to it…
Source: Madison Host, Jim Drost, December 26, 2012
REFERENCED ARTICLE:
Mining Firms Stockpiling Frac Sand Until Price Goes Up
For more than a year, a 30-foot-tall pile of unwanted sand towered over three acres on Claude Riglemon’s property. The price of sand dropped about the time this pile was ready for sale, so the 120,000 tons just waited…
Source: Madison Host, Kate Prengaman, December 22, 2012
 
Local Officials Dealing Themselves a Piece of Frac Sand Boom
In a desperate effort to prevent foreclosure on his parents' farm, Kyle Slaby applied to his local township board last year for permission to mine frac sand. He dreamed of erasing more than $600,000 in debt and getting rich from deposits of high-grade crystalline silica, which is in hot demand because of the national boom in hydro-fracking for oil and gas. What he never saw coming, he says, was one of the township's three elected officers derailing his plan -- and then going into the sand business himself…
Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune. Tony Kennedy, December 26, 2012
 
Insight: In Fracking Culture War, Celebs, Billionaires and Banjos
Not so long ago, fracking was a technical term little known beyond the energy industry. Now it's coming to Hollywood, as the fierce battle between environmentalists and oil firms is played out in several forthcoming films…
Source: Reuters, Joshua Schneyer and Edward McAllister, December 24, 2012
Letter to the Editor: Fractured Community
These ancient, provident, idyllic hills may get scooped up and carried away. Along with our peace and our sense of well-being, what a terrible price to pay…
Source: Caledonia Argus,,Kent Holen, December 26, 2012
 
Unframing Strib's Envy Narrative: Sand Mining Creates Wealth & Friction & Convenient Fiction
In Sunday's Star Tribune, general assignment reporter Curt Brown weaves a colorful narrative of envy in Sand mining creates wealth and friction (what appears to be his first frac sand mining story), while failing to note that neighbors of a farm couple who collected $550,000 for their place might have more powerful reasons not to wave when they pass by. There's more to this story than the green-eyed monster angle Brown selected…
Source:Bluestem Prairie. December 2, 2012
 
Sand Mining Creates Wealth and Friction
A farm couple cashed in on the soil that gave them fits for 40 years, gaining a new lifestyle -- and some enmity…
Source:Star Tribune. Curt Brown, December 2, 2012
 
Frack Fight—This Is What Democracy Looks Like
There’s a war going on that you know nothing about between a coalition of great powers and a small insurgent movement. It’s a secret war being waged in the shadows while you go about your everyday life…
Source: EcoWatch. Ellen Cantarow, November 19, 2012
 
Quarry Fight Between City, Township a Sign of the Times
ORTONVILLE — A tug of war is playing out over a proposed granite quarry in west central Minnesota, one that mirrors other battles across the state…
Source: Rochester Post Bulletin, Mark Steil, November 12, 2012
 
Frac-Sand Tour Bus Delayed When Protesters Take to the Roof; 7 Cited
even frac sand protesters were arrested Wednesday morning by Brooklyn Center police after they climbed onto the roof of a tour bus waiting to take members of an industry group on a field trip to sand mining and processing sites in western Wisconsin…
Source: Star Tribune. Tony Kennedy, October 3, 2012
 
Brooklyn Center Protesters Decry Sand Mining
More than 50 protesters chanting: "Hey, hey, ho, ho, sand frac mining has got to go!" greeted attendees arriving for a frac sand conference in Brooklyn Center on Monday evening…
Source: Star Tribune. Curt Brown, October 2, 2012
 
Conference Draws 50 Frac Sand Protesters
More than 50 people gathered Monday to protest frac sand mining outside a conference on the silica sand resources of Minnesota and Wisconsin. "This is total destruction," said Kathleen Bibus of Red Wing, Minn. "We know the chemicals they use will contaminate the groundwater. We know the dust causes silicosis"…
Source: WisconsinWatch, Kate Golden, October 2, 2012
 
St. Charles Highway For Frac Sand May Imperil Amish Way Of Life
County Road 37 is one of those breathtaking country lanes that winds through green hills and -- in this hot summer -- corn that is head high in July. It's also the main thoroughfare for about 80 Amish families who live and travel by buggy along it, and who are now taking the unusual step of speaking out publicly on a community controversy: a proposal to turn their county road into a frac-sand highway…
Source: Star Tribune. Josephine Marcotty, July 12, 2012
 
Nationwide Insurance: Fracking Damage Won't Be Covered
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has become the first major insurance company to say it won't cover damage related to a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground…
Source: Huffington Post. Mary Esch, July 12, 2012
 
Frac Sand Operation May Harm Neighbors' Lifestyles
Bryan and Sue Van Gorp have made a good life and enjoyable lifestyle at their farm home off Highway 16, just east of the Ferndale Country Club…
Source: Tri-County Record. Ron Witt, June 13, 2012
 
Trailer Park Residents Battle Eviction by Fracking Industry
The residents of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania are fighting to prevent their eviction by a water withdrawal facility serving the “fracking” industry
Source: The Raw Story. Muriel Kane, June 3, 2012
 
Letter to the Editor: Is anyone listening?
What part of “no” do they not understand?…
Source: Winona Daily News, Karen Graves, May 10, 2012
 
Sand Mining Is Huge Threat to Rural Wisconsin
An email arrived one recent morning from a farmer friend in southwestern Wisconsin’s driftless region. He told of an encounter with an employee at a local cheese plant. The man had inherited the family farm, which is loaded with frac sand, the kind that’s used to help extract oil and gas from previously hard-to-reach shale deposits. He was struggling with a pending decision…
Source: The Cap Times, Bill Berry, May 7, 2012
 
Guest View: Sand Mining Would Ruin Our Community
As a 35-year resident of Buffalo County, I feel compelled to express my viewpoint regarding the frac sand issue. I realize my concerns revolve around the experiences I have had as a city councilman, business owner, former teacher and active coach at Cochrane-Fountain City School…
Source: Winona Daily News, Gary Brone, April 19, 2012
 
Fracking in Los Angeles? Test Wells at Urban Oil Field Spark Water Worries
Earlier this year, the oil company Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) blasted water and chemicals more than one and half miles into the earth to force oil embedded in a sandstone formation to gush to the surface…
Source: TruthOut, Ngoc Nguyen, April 13, 2012
 
Frackers Outbid Farmers For Water In Colorado Drought
Colorado is facing drought not seen since 2002, following the fourth-warmest and third-least-snowy winter in US history. Colorado State University scientists report that 98 percent of the state is facing these drought conditions…
Source: Think Progress, Rebecca Leber, April 5, 2012
 
The Fracking Frenzy's Impact on Women
Little has been reported on the ways in which fracking may have unique impacts on women. Chemicals used in fracking have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive health problems and there have been reports of rises in crimes against women in some fracking "boom" towns, which have attracted itinerant workers with few ties to the community.…
Source: Common Dreams, Sara Jerving, April 4, 2012
 
A New Energy Third World in North America? - How the Big Energy Companies Plan to Turn the United States into a Third-World Petro-State
The “curse” of oil wealth is a well-known phenomenon in Third World petro-states where millions of lives are wasted in poverty and the environment is ravaged, while tiny elites rake in the energy dollars and corruption rules the land…
Source: Huffington Post, Michael T. Klare, April 1, 2012
 
Opinion: No to New Mines in Buffalo County
I live in Buffalo County in the Waumandee Valley. My husband and I are dairy farmers. This farm has been in his family for five generations…
Source: Winona Daily News, Nettle Rosenow, April 1, 2012
 
The Video ExxonMobil Doesn't Want You to See
Families in Pennsylvania can't drink their water and are concerned about their homes blowing up because of gas drilling…
Source: Reader Supported News, Tara Lohan, March 30, 2012
 
Letter to the Editor: Michaels Fields: Next Sand Meeting Should Include Ethics, Psychology
I learned a few things at the public hearing on frac sand mining held in La Crescent on March 19 and was left wondering about some others…
Source: Winona Daily News, Michael Fields, March 28, 2012
 
How a Pennsylvania Law Has Elevated the Fracking Battle to a Civil Rights Fight
But in Pennsylvania, the epicenter of the controversial drilling, the legislature recently stripped all local zoning authority to prevent drilling, overturning the kinds of steps that have frustrated drillers in neighboring states…
Source: Reader Supported News, Steven Rosenfeld, March 16, 2012
 
Three Arrested while Protesting Ohio Fracking Wastewater Wells
After the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) announced last week they would lift a voluntary suspension on construction of new injection wells in Ohio for toxic wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, Ohioans attempted to enter the ODNR office demanding an immediate moratorium on underground injection fracking wastewater…
Source: Eco Watch, March 14, 2012
 
Letter to the Editor: Rose Gurley: Frac Sand Is Bad For Winona
How has it come to this? That the quiet beauty of our river town is being destroyed. With mountains of frac sand in our downtown. And an ongoing battalion of heavy, lumbering trucks crossing our vulnerable Mississippi bridge…
Source: Winona Daily News, Rose Gurley, March 13, 2012
 
Letter to the Editor: Distressed by Frac Stories
I’ve been looking forward to retiring to lovely Winona for some time. But after reading all the distressing articles about fracking, my dream is on hold…
Source: Winona Daily News, Teresa Olson, March 9, 2012
 
Fracking Democracy: Why Pennsylvania's Act 13 May Be the Nation's Worst Corporate Giveaway
Pennsylvania's Republican leaders have given the natural gas industry unprecedented power to overrule local government and drill anywhere…
Source: AlterNet, Steven Rosenfeld, March 7, 2012
 
Study Suggests Hydrofracking is Killing Farm Animals, Pets
A new report has found dozens of cases of illness, death and reproductive issues in cows, horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, fish and other wildlife, and humans. It says these conditions could be the result of exposure to gas drilling operations…
Source: Cornell University, Krishna Ramanujan, March 7, 2012
 
U.S. Silica: The First IPO In The 'Fracking Sand' Industry
Investors now have the very first pure play on fracking sand… as U.S. Silica (SLCA) went public on the NYSE on February 1st at $17/share, raising $42 million. Prior to this IPO, the only frac sand companies were either private or held by oil companies…
Source: Seeking Alpha, Keith Schaefer, March 6, 2012
 
"This Is Our Land:" Lakota Form Human Blockade to Stop Tar Sands Trucks
Lakota members yesterday formed a human blockade to stop trucks carrying tar sands equipment through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The action resulted in the arrest of 5 protesters…
Source: Common Dreams, March 6, 2012
 
Robert Hively-Johnson: My Mistake
Not long ago, the Winona Daily News published a letter wherein I stated that those who live in the area affected by the former Biesanz Stone quarry operations had no reason to complain about blasting, if their ownership post-dated quarry operations…
Source: Winona Daily News, Robert Hively-Johnson, March 3, 2012
 
Randy Schenkat: Energy Issue Bigger Than Most Realize
Energy issue bigger than most realize. This is a really confusing time. Could we really go back to a simpler time – when I liked Ike?…
Source: Winona Daily News, Randy Schenkat, March 3, 2012
 
Oil Boom and A Kidnapping Alter Montana Town
Sidney isn't the first small town in the West to get run over by a gold rush, in this case black gold _ more than 16 million barrels of crude being pumped every month from the massive Bakken oil field beneath eastern Montana and western North Dakota…
Source: Winona Daily News, Associated Press, March 2, 2012
 
The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom - A report from Rolling Stone about the financial disaster that lingers beneath the environmental one
A profile of billionaire natural gas tycoon, Aubrey McClendon, by Rolling Stone's Jeff Goodell is out today and it paints a frightening, if not complex, picture of one of the men profiting most from the nation's insatiable appetite for fossil fuels…
Source: Common Dreams, March 1, 2012
 
Frac Sand Mining Moratorium in Houston County
The Buffalo County Board of Adjustment has been accused of violating open-meeting laws when considering three recent applications for mining frac sand…
Source: The Caledonia Argus, Bob Bovee, February 21, 2012
 
No Fracking Way: Protesters Block Frac Sand Mining Operations
On Monday, nearly forty people blocked truck traffic from entering “Mount Frac”—the Winona, MN dumping site for silica sand . …
Source: WagingNonViolence.org, Jake Olzen, February 15, 2012
 
In Winona, Small Group Protests Sand Mining Industry
Winona police say no citations were issued during a peaceful protest outside a Winona sand transportation facility. …
Source: MPR News, Elizabeth Baier, February 14, 2012
 
Protesters Gather Outside Winona Sand Transportation Facility, Demonstrate Against Sand Mining
Winona police say no citations were issued during a peaceful protest outside a Winona sand transportation facility. …
Source: The Republic, February 13, 2012
 
Protesters Block Sand Mining Truck
Nine protesters linked arms and strung orange tape across the exit of the Modern Transport Rail loading terminal…
Source: Winona Daily News, Mary Juhl, February 10, 2012
 
Statement From Winona Frac-Sand Protestors
It is after attending countless meetings and public hearings at the city and county level that we have come to the Winona frac sand pile today…
Source: Eileen Hanson, February 9, 2012
 
Can a Community Defy a Cabal of Multi-National Corporations?
Conventional wisdom says no. Their elephant feet will simply stomp you. Armed with lawyers, guns, and money, they will have their way....
Source: Daily Kos, James Wells, February 7, 2012
 
To Frac or Not to Frac
Minnesota does not have any natural gas deposits, but it could soon become a key player in the natural gas industry. Back in April the Oklahoma-based energy company Windsor Energy, Inc. bought a few parcels of land around Red Wing to gain access to the high quality silica (i.e. “frac”) sand that lies under southeastern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois…
Source: Minnesota Hindsight 20/20, Zach Robbins, June 27, 2011
 
Sumner Frac Sand Mine Draws Protest
Conventional wisdom says no. Their elephant feet will simply stomp you. Armed with lawyers, guns, and money, they will have their way....
Source: Rice Lake Online, January 25, 2012
 
Linda S. Griggs: Take Time on Frac Sand Regulation
On Jan. 12, I attended a conference on frac sand mining sponsored by the Wisconsin Towns Association and the Wisconsin Farmers Union...
Source: Winona Daily News, Linda Griggs, January 19, 2012
Related Resources
PowerPoint: Citizens Frac Sand Summit Victories List
PowerPoint: Citizens Frac Sand Summit Victories List
Related Videos
Video: May 30 - Citizens call on city leaders to overturn a recent Board of Adjustments decision to allow expansion of expanded frac sand handling and shipping at the Winona Port
Video: Protesters block mining trucks in Winona
>> view all videos
Groups With A Common Cause
SAVE THE HILLS ALLIANCE
Hank's Speech: Charlie Walker CCEDC
Speach submitted during the October 13, 2009 meeting of the County Board of Supervisors of Chippewa County by Henry C. Boschen…
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