Frac sand debate
Some say industry has grown too fast to manage, reclaim byproducts. Updated Jul. 13, 2013
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.
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.
Opponents fear frac sand mining will expand with Winona County green light.
Pepin County Board votes to protect a strip along Lake Pepin.
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.
New player for water in the parched West is oil and gas.
As Tom Woletz leaves his “dream job,” he says the state has become an industry leader with adequate laws but needs more field inspectors.
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.
Mining won’t be banned near trout streams, but DNR permitting procedure is put in play.
A proposed Pepin County ordinance would ban frac-sand mining along a scenic stretch of Wisconsin bluff.
"Mount Frac" in downtown Winona
Minnesota Sands bows to state pressure, in a move that could set a precedent for growing industry.
Foes of the amendment call it a de-facto ban on frac-sand mining.
Trout stream amendment, which could see Senate vote Thursday, is facing resistance.
Michael Gorman brought a photo of a robin to Tuesday’s news conference. He fears environmental damage from sand mining.
Small governments in southeastern Minnesota seek state help on studying and regulating mining, with calls for a moratorium.
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.
Amy Nelson joins a swell of protesters demanding study, protection as mining explodes.
Nowhere are the concerns about sand mining, and expectations for its e...
His work to promote fracking is a conflict of interest, residents say.
"Mount Frac" in downtown Winona
Winona County will decide on requests tied to frac sand mining.
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...
Jim and Lou Ellen Frei
As the sand rush intensifies, county regulators are being hired away by the industry, creating backlogs of work and fears of conflicts of interest.
St. Charles, Minn.
St. Charles weighs chance to be the state's gateway to a new frontier.