Continuing series: Frac Sand Fever

  • Frac Sand Fever is a periodic Star Tribune series on the sand mining boom in Minnesota and Wisconsin as "hydro-fracking'' revolutionizes the nation's oil and gas industry.

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  • Interactive map: Frac sand facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin

    Publish July 12, 2013 2:00 AM / Update July 15, 2013 7:34 AM

    Minnesota and Wisconsin are four years into a sand mining boom. This map shows facilities that involve the mining, processing or transportation of frac sand. Sites that have permits to do such work and ones that are proposed are shown.

The Biesanz Stone Company is the only existing sand mine in Winona County. It is experimenting with frac sand mining.

Farmer Kent Peppler says he is fallowing some of his corn fields this year because he can’t afford to irrigate the land, in part because deep-pocketed energy companies have driven up the price of water.

Trout fishing is a popular activity in the bluff country of southeastern Minnesota. Under Tuesday’s compromise at the Capitol, any frac sand mining company proposing to dig within a mile of a trout stream in the region would need a special DNR permit.

"Mount Frac" in downtown Winona

Foes of the amendment call it a de-facto ban on frac-sand mining.

Michael Gorman brought a photo of a robin to Tuesday’s news conference. He fears environmental damage from sand mining.

Amy Nelson, a resident of Hay Creek Township south of Red Wing, Minn., stood near a proposed frac sand mine. She got involved after land near her house was purchased with an eye to building a mine. “The more you read, the angrier you get,” she said.

Nowhere are the concerns about sand mining, and expectations for its e...

"Mount Frac" in downtown Winona

Annexation lifted key operating restrictions on this Preferred Sands mine in western Wisconsin.

Kyle showed an outcropping of sand that is so valuable to the mining c...

  • Local officials dealing themselves a piece of frac sand boom

    Article By: TONY KENNEDY , Star Tribune Publish December 26, 2012 2:00 AM / Update December 26, 2012 3:43 PM

    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.

    Full StoryFull story

Jim and Lou Ellen Frei

Kevin Lien

St. Charles, Minn.

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