Frac Sand Mining in Western Wisconsin

Frac sand, characteristically hard and round, was deposited by a shallow sea nearly 500 million years ago. The word frac comes from hydro-fracking (hydraulic fracturing), a process petroleum companies use to free trapped natural gas along with oil from depleted wells; frac sand is mined in Wisconsin and Minnesota and used in oil fields around the country. While hydrofracking has increased production of domestic energy, it also perpetuates the illusion that energy from fossil fuels will last forever. Humanity must soon abandon the use of fossil fuels if we hope to avert the devastating effects of climate change; hydrofracking enables the continued use of fossil fuels, and releases methane, the most potent of greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere.

The frac sand industry should be closely regulated to protect groundwater and air quality locally, as well as where hydrofracking occurs. We also need to ensure that economic benefits are shared fairly with local stakeholders as well as multi-national corporations. Today we see permanent alterations to our landscape, collusion between mining companies and the state government, with attempts to erode local control over protection of natural resources, transportation, zoning, and more.

We, the Democratic Party of Barron County believe that Americans should not be working to further develop fossil fuels but should be developing carbon-free alternative energy sources. All citizens, regardless of political affiliation, must consider not just the short term economic gains, but also long term impacts of continued use of fossil fuels. It is future generations that will reap the benefits, or the consequences of our decisions.