The state Natural Resources Board may approve a DNR analysis of frac sand mining Wisconsin. The Board will consider whether the DNR should update information on the industry this week. It’s in response to a petition from Midwest Environmental Advocates, where Jimmy Parra is staff attorney.
“MEA and some citizens who live near frac sand mines got together, and we developed a petition to ask the DNR to do a strategic analysis,” Parra said. “The scope hasn’t really been set. In the petition, we outlined a lot of what we think a strategic analysis should address.”
Parra said that scope would likely exceed what the agency has done in the past. “They (DNR) did do a study in 2012, on frac sand mining. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a study. What it was, was a summary of available information about frac sand mining.”
Industrial frac sand mining as grown dramatically in Wisconsin in recent years, due to demand for the sand during North Dakota’s oil boom. Mine operators have often found themselves at odds with neighbors and local governments, due to concerns about the noise produced by trucks hauling the sand and the dust kicked up as part of the mining process. Several communities have moved to restrict the development of new mines, including passing moratoriums on new permits.
The Natural Resources Board will consider the recommendation for an analysis at its monthly meeting in Madison on Wednesday.