Midwest Environmental Advocates is a nonprofit environmental law center that works for healthy water, air, land and government for this generation and the next. We believe that every citizen has the potential to make a difference.

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DNR Frac Sand Report Public Information Session Tuesday

Jul 25, 2016

On Tuesday, July 26, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will host a public information session to take comments and answer questions about the agency’s long-awaited Industrial Sand Mining Strategic Analysis draft report. The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and the deadline for comments from the public is on August 22.

Midwest Environmental Advocates, on behalf of over 1,100 citizens, compiled concerns of citizens and petitioned the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board on October 29, 2014 with a simple request: direct the DNR to take an in-depth, comprehensive look at the impacts of frac sand mining in our state. The NRB acknowledged citizens’ concerns and asked the DNR to conduct a Strategic Analysis. The DNR released the draft report this month.

Through the strategic analysis process, the DNR evaluates potential alternative approaches to its current regulation, identifies potentially affected natural resources and likely effects of various alternatives on those natural resources. A strategic analysis doesn’t make new laws, but it can be a resource for decision makers and the public.

“The public and elected officials need sound, unbiased information about the impacts of frac sand mining in Wisconsin,” said staff attorney Kellan McLemore. “The draft Strategic Analysis could be a useful and important resource, but it needs public input and better data on environmental impacts. It is critical that our DNR doesn’t dismiss potential impacts until we have enough reliable data to be sure there is no threat to public health or the environment.”

Midwest Environmental Advocates is concerned that the DNR’s draft Industrial Sand Mining Strategic Analysis:

  • relies on industry-funded studies on air quality based on voluntary monitoring by frac sand operations,
  • dismisses potential impacts of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 emissions) based on insufficient data and faulty conclusions,
  • minimizes the risk of environmental harm to surface waters and wetlands from frac sand discharges, and
  • suggests there is limited impact to our agricultural land despite the large-scale losses to this valuable resource.

However, the DNR did the right thing by acknowledging the threat of acid mine drainage from industrial sand facilities and supporting further study of the connection between mining and metals in our water.

The DNR will hold the public information session in Eau Claire on Tuesday, July 26 starting at 4:00 p.m. at the Chippewa Valley Technical College, Business Education Center, Casper Conference Center, Room 103A/B, 620 W. Clairemont Ave.

Download the draft Industrial Sand Mining Strategic Analysis on the DNR website: http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/eia/ismsa.html

/ tagged: water, government, drinking water, mining, frac sand, frac, frack