One Wisconsin county is trying to slow down the frac sand mining boom.
Northwestern and central Wisconsin have the largest concentrations of the special sand that’s in high demand by the oil and gas industries. They use it in the hydro-fracturing process to extract gas from underground rock formations.
After a dizzying wave of new open pit mines popped up, the Eau Claire County Board this month approved a six-month moratorium on the development of new frac sand mining operations and the expansion of existing mines. So far the county has received two applications, but Eau Claire Assistant Corporation Counsel Nathan Novak says there are at least a half dozen more in the works.
Novak says the board wanted a breather so they could study the impact the existing mines are having on area roads, environment and public health. Especially since the proposed mines are much bigger than existing operations, with one potentially up to 1,500 acres in size.
Novak says there are also issues with regulations and permitting the new mines that need to be worked out.
AUDIO: Paul Knoff reports (1:01)