There is no way to make something that is so wrong right. From the start (altering irreplaceable bluffs and habitat that have existed for thousands of years) to the final product produced (oil), frac sand mining is wrong. The problems of dust, noise, transportation, destruction of natural resources, public health and safety are only the tip of a huge iceberg.
After silica sand is mined, it is processed (washed using large amounts of water mixed with toxic chemicals) and then shipped to the oil fields. There it is mixed with other hazardous chemicals and under high pressure forced into the ground, displacing the oil.
The contaminated sand and water are left behind, neither of which can be recycled and are not safe for human use. The resulting product, highly flammable oil, is transported in unsafe railroad cars to refineries or other ports of call to be sold. Note that this does not necessarily result in lower gas prices for the U.S.
U.S. oil is sold on the international market, feeding dependence on fossil fuels and not encouraging alternative sources of energy. And, of course, the use of fossil fuels results in a host of contamination and climate-change problems. The entire process is flawed.
Ultimately there is nothing good that comes from the fracking process, including the end product. There is no way to make something that is so wrong right. Let’s do our part, starting at the source: take control and ban any frac sand activity in Winona County.
Land Stewardship Project member Dale Schauer lives in Goodview in Winona County.