Natural Resources Board: DNR to Study Frac Sand Statewide
Jan 28, 2015
Today, in response to a petition signed by more than 1,100 Wisconsinites and the recommendation of the Department of Natural Resources, the Natural Resources Board directed the staff of the DNR to do a strategic analysis of the impacts of the frac sand industry in Wisconsin. Natural Resources Board Chairman Preston Cole set a timeline for completion of the study as 365 days.
“I’m very pleased by the quick response to the citizen-led petition requesting the strategic analysis and the reasonable timeline for completing the study”, said Executive Director Kimberlee Wright, “around 58,000 people live within a half mile of a frac sand mine, transportation hub or processing facility, and serious questions about the impacts on people, communities and the environment from this industry remain unanswered. Citizens, local governments and the DNR need good information to solve existing problems and proactively address cumulative impacts of the industry.”
Dave Siebert, director for the DNR’s Bureau of Energy, Transportation and Environmental Analysis, informed the NRB that the first step in the strategic analysis process is robust public engagement for the scoping phase of the study. Siebert clarified for the NRB that the Wisconsin Environmental Protection Act defines what a strategic analysis is: a process to collect a wide range of credible information to guide decision-making around complex issues or industries with potential significant impacts on public health, the environment and socio-economic conditions in communities.
Midwest Environmental Advocates is working with families, community leaders, farmers and other business owners in areas most impacted by the frac sand industry. The nonprofit, nonpartisan law center will work with the DNR to ensure citizens are aware of their opportunity to have their concerns entered into the record for the natural resources agency to consider in identifying the issues to be addressed in the strategic analysis of frac sand mining.
“This important study will incorporate existing data and identify gaps in information that need to be addressed,” said Wright. “Decision makers at all levels of government must have credible information to guide the standards needed to protect public health, property values, community infrastructure and local businesses from the exponential growth of the frac sand industry. This is why a strategic analysis is such a useful tool for citizens, industry and government.”
Letter: 1/27/2015 Letter from MEA to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources RE frac sand strategic analysis scope (request for the agency to include adequate public involvment in setting the scope of the study, collaborate with other state agencies with expertise, analyze the full scope of impacts, and allow adequate time for the public to review and comment on the draft analysis)