Over the past few years, dozens of groups have formed consisting of people concerned about the impacts of industrial frac sand operations. Many of these groups are simply neighbors or residents who began meeting someone's garage or basement in order to study the impacts of frac sand mining and to find ways to express their concerns. Concerned citizens play an important role in the decision-making process related to frac sand operations. When organized, citizens have helped to stop proposed operations that are incompatible with community well-being, such as mining operations near schools. Citizens have also played an important role in monitoring frac sand operations and pressuring public officials to create new ordinances or enforce existing regulations. As with any grassroots effort, the longevity, size, organizational capacity, values, and influence of the groups vary widely and evolve over time. Some groups rise and fall quickly, especially as controversial proposals or operations fade from the public eye, while others might achieve an enduring presence in their community.

Although many groups often first form in response to local proposals or operations, the last few years have seen various efforts to coordinate on a regional scale. Some of these efforts have occurred from within local groups, as concerned citizens routinely reach out to each other across the region to share information and learn from prior experiences. Social media sites such as Facebook have facilitated a substantial amount of information exchange and networking, as have traditional social networks such as family connections and friendships. The Save the Hills Alliance, for instance, which evolved from the Concerned Chippewa Citizens, consults with many local groups and held annual meetings in 2012 and 2013 that drew a regional audience.

Other regional efforts have been launched by longstanding, multi-issue organizations or networks that have recently taken on frac sand mining, and they have helped to mobilize resources and offer organizational stability. In June of 2013, the Wisconsin Grassroots Network sponsored a regional conference titled "Standing Against the Sandstorm." Several months later in January of 2014, the Land Stewardship Project of Minnesota organized a "Citizens' Frac Sand Summit" that drew hundreds of participants from throughout the region to listen to speakers and participate in workshops to facilitate grassroots organizing. Also in January, the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice passed a resolution calling for statewide ban on frac sand mining. The resolution, signed by nearly fifty Wisconsin-based groups, was in response to recent moves in the state legislature to eliminate local democratic control over the licensing and regulation of frac sand operations.

If you are concerned about frac sand mining in your community, connect with existing grassroots groups or reach out to your neighbors. The Environmental Illness Network Minnesota maintains a decent list of grassroots websites, blogs, and social media endeavors that have been created in response to sand mines. Here is my partial list of citizens groups that have a public web presence as of late 2012:


**Please let me know if you would like your group added to or removed from this list.**

Photo from the Great River Road Revival website

Sign displayed in Stockholm, WI.
Photograph by Thomas Pearson, July 20, 2013.


  1. Please add Hay River Frac Watch to your list ( Thanks!

  2. The Frac Sand Weekly on-line newspaper includes stories from citizen blogs (including yours):

  3. Please add Save-The-Bluffs, from Goodhue County, MN. Thank you- Jody McIlrath, chair

  4. Please add Winona Area Citizens Concerned About Silica Mining (CASM) Thanks much. --Jim Gurley

  5. Please add and our Facebook page Allamakee County Protectors to your list. We are a grassroots organization of concerned citizens that are trying to stop FracSand Mining from moving into Iowa. We have Native American Mounds on and near the sites and are trying to slow the frac mines up. Any info or help would be great. THIS IS THE FIRST MINE PROPOSED IN THE STATE OF IOWA. Thank you, Robert ACP

    1. I've added your group to the list. Thank you!

  6. Please help save the city of Wabasha from this evil, our city counsel lawyer thinks the city should roll over and play dead and let this evil frac sand shipping plant go on. HELP !!