Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vista Sand withdraws rail spur proposal in Menomonie

On Wednesday, September 19, Vista Sand withdrew its application to rezone property in the Town of Menomonie, ending its effort to build a transload facility for loading frac sand for shipment along the UP rail line. The sudden turn of events came as a surprise.

A week earlier the Planning, Resources and Development (PRD) Committee had recommended that the county deny Vista's request for the rezone (see Dunn County News).

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Economics of Sand Mining in Buffalo County

I recently learned about a report on the economics of sand mining prepared by Carl Duley, UW-Extension, and Steven Deller, UW-Madison/Extension, for Buffalo County:
While their analysis focuses on the specific conditions of Buffalo County (comparison with other counties should be done with caution), the report raises some important questions that are relevant to the broader region. Some of the highlights:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sand doesn’t equal community well-being : Dunn County News

Sand doesn’t equal community well-being : Dunn County News

Here is a much shorter version of my article about the socioeconomic impacts of frac sand mining, published in the Dunn County News on Wednesday, September 5. (The Dunn County News website includes a head-shot photo with the article, but the photo is ridiculously huge... not sure why.) My hope is that some of the questions I raise in the article will contribute to the broader debate about the future of frac sand mining in this region. Do local decision-makers read the Dunn County News? I hope so. I've heard many local officials and frac sand advocates make simplistic and misleading claims about the presumed economic benefits of industrial frac sand mining, with local officials invoking "economic development" as a rationale for their decision-making. There may be benefits for some, but also costs, often imposed on others or on future generations. These are serious issues that require accurate information and careful assessment, not wishful assertions backed up by the empty guarantees of mining companies striving to profit from frac sand.