Sunday, December 28, 2014

Frac Sand Mining is NOT Inevitable

Local activists and public health professionals applied sufficient pressure to get New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation banning fracking statewide. Until the news broke on December 17th, the outcome had seemed uncertain. It's a landmark, a watershed decision: a state has decided that its considerable reserves of fossil fuel will not be extracted for the foreseeable future, that other things -- the health of its people, the purity of its water -- matter more. And once again, the power of citizens turned out to be greater than that of industry.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Moon

Posted on April 14, 2012

The Moon
After all the sand trains
have left this little town
When the speculators go
and the dust has settled down
What’s left for us to live with
except those gaping holes?
A company town without a company
knocked off-kilter for short-term corporate goals
The paychecks came from New York
or someplace far away
And when sand prices bottomed out
jobs dried up, almost the same day
Now we’re left with our questions
and a landscape that looks like the moon
Frac sand economics
boom, boom, BOOM!

Locations of 11 Frac Sand Mines (in SE Minn) Proposed by Minnesota Sands, with Proposed Size in Acres

The map on Land Stewardship Project's website, which shows "Locations of 11 Frac Sand Mines (in SE Minn) Proposed by Minnesota Sands, with Proposed Size in Acres"

Monday, February 3, 2014

Caucus Resolution on Controlling Frac Sand Mining

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  So do we say we are concerned about the downsides of frac sand mining and want the State to help us?  We have a chance to show up and speak up for a healthy, sustainable future -- a couple of hours with our neighbors at the ground level of the political process.

Wishing you well,


   Attending caucuses tomorrow (Tues., 2/4) night provides a great opportunity to both pass a resolution on the frac sand issue and get petition signatures. Attached is a draft resolution and the petition to the Governor.  We have just over 1,000 signatures to date. 4,000 more to go.  Please, share this email with others in your circle who you know attend caucuses.
If you don’t know your caucus site you can find it here:
Bobby King
Land Stewardship Proejct
Caucus Resolution on Controlling Frac Sand Mining
Whereas, gas and oil interests want to strip mine for frac sand in Minnesota to be used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas. This frac sand is located primarily in the Minnesota River Valley and the karst area of Southeast Minnesota;
Whereas, the negative impacts of frac sand mining  are numerous and include producing silica dust which causes serious health threats including silicosis; use of large amounts of water for processing, industrial truck traffic in rural and agricultural areas; threatening water quality by its use of large amounts of water and chemical processing and more;
Whereas, this industry is relatively new and state regulations are still being developed for it;
Whereas, the bluffland of Southeast Minnesota is a unique state asset with its world class trout streams, important bird habitat and flyways, fertile farmland and beautiful but fragile karst geology. While including only 3% of Minnesota's land area it provides habitat for 43% of the state's plant and animal species that are threatened;
Whereas, The Critical Areas Act of 1973 gives the Governor of Minnesota the authority to designate Southeast Minnesota as a critical area endangered by frac sand mining and declare a two year moratorium on frac sand mining while protections are put in place;
Whereas, for other parts of the state, especially the Minnesota River Valley large-scale frac sand mining is occurring, we must have aggressively enforced state standards to protect air and water quality. 
Therefore be it resolved, ____________________ party is the opposed to the onslaught of the frac sand mining industry being driven by oil and gas corporations and their political allies and we support:
  1. Executive action by the Governor to enact a two-year moratorium on frac sand mining in southeast Minnesota. Such powers are granted under the Critical Areas Act, passed in 1973.
  2. The creation of tough state level regulations on frac sand mining to protect air and water quality, and the strong enforcement of such.
  3. Development of community-based renewable energy production and implementation of effective energy conservation through state legislative policy and administrative action.

Monday, January 27, 2014

We need to forward this to any Wisconsin residents

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

  We need to forward this to any Wisconsin residents we know to generate energy on these regional issues:
 Paragraph 2. Sign resolution to stop FSM.
  Paragraph 3. Sign petition to retain local governmental control.

We can join the effort by connecting with our Wisconsin neighbors who can add their names.

Wishing you well,


On Monday, January 20, 2014 2:24 PM, Patricia J. Popple <> wrote:


Citizens Groups to Lawmakers: Stop Frac Sand Mining and SB 349

MADISON--A resolution calling for a ban on frac sand mining and a halt to attacks on local democracy has been sent to Governor Scott Walker, members of the Wisconsin Legislature, and State and Federal environmental regulators.

The resolution (PDF available here) was created by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice's Environmental Working Group and has been endorsed by more than 75 civic and environmental organizations, including 49 Wisconsin groups and 29 groups from seven other states where Wisconsin sand is used for hydraulic fracturing.

An additional online petition with the same language currently has 165 individual signers.

It calls for the rejection of SB 349, a bill introduced last fall that would outlaw local ordinances regulating frac sand mining, local air and water quality, or blasting. The bill impacts communities facing water contamination from factory farms and potential iron mining in addition to frac sand areas. Although the legislation raised an outcry from democracy advocates, it is likely to be reintroduced in the new session.

The number of frac sand mines in the state has more than doubled in the past two years, to over 140 facilities in operation or planned, according to data from the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. The industry has been exempted from environmental impact studies, despite numerous complaints from nearby residents of 24-hour noise, heavy truck and train traffic, and cancer-causing silica dust.

The Center reported in March that 80 to 90 percent of frac sand sites receive letters of noncompliance from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and up to a fifth of active sites have been cited for environmental violations, but the DNR can't keep up with all of the industry's problems. The resolution asks Federal agencies to step in with tougher environmental enforcement, and ultimately seeks a statewide ban on frac sand mining.

"Since 2011, Legislative efforts have undermined Wisconsin’s democratic tradition and conservation heritage by weakening environmental protections, eroding the authority of the [DNR] to make science-based rules, preventing DNR enforcement staff from doing their jobs, and reducing public involvement in the iron mine permitting process," the resolution says.

"Wisconsin has historically used strong regulation to ensure that a clean environment is preserved for future generations because our well-informed citizens have stood up to demand it."

The resolution's endorsers are connected by struggles to protect the water, air, and small farming economy from frac sand mining in Wisconsin and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for natural gas in other states, for which the sand is used. The resolution cites methane leaks from fracking that contaminate local aquifers and contribute to global warming.

The resolution also goes beyond local agitation to demand broader solutions to the underlying driver of the industry, U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. It calls for improvements to the state's Focus on Energy program and a shift in national priorities to "energy efficiency and the development of local, clean, renewable energy sources."

The Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice is awaiting a response to the resolution from state lawmakers and regulators. The resolution and more information are available online at


WHAT: Resolution Opposing Frac Sand Mining Industry and Environmental Degradation (attached)

WHO: Sponsored by the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice (WNPJ); endorsed by 78 civic and environmental organizations (49 in-state, 29 out-of-state)

CONTACT: Carl Sack, WNPJ Staff,, (608) 250-9240; Pat Popple, Frac Sand Activist,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

We need quick response to gather thousands of signatures on this petition

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
  We need quick response to gather thousands of signatures on this petition (you can find it in right hand upper corner of

Please sign and forward to any Minnesota resident you know who might sign (and continue to forward for more signatures).
Wishing you well,