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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Houston County, Minn., board of commissioners revealed its proposed frac sand mining ordinance establishing a number of restrictions, limitations and environmental protections. The new ordinance limits the volume of sand that can be mined per year, requires mines to comply with a road use and maintenance agreement, and gives county officials the authority to issue environmental reviews. It also limits the use of explosives for blasting at mine sites and requires a pre-blasting survey for new mines, expanding mines or when mines change blasting procedures. Mines would also be required to submit a reclamation plan under the new ordinance, identifying a schedule and methods for refilling the mining site and re-vegetation of the area, according to the LaCrosse Tribune.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Smart Sand Partners (SSLP) is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Hi-Crush Partners and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), with a record-breaking IPO. Like the previous two fracking sand MLPs, SSLP produces Northern White frac sand from sand mines and a processing facility in Wisconsin. Its integrated facility has on-site rail infrastructure and wet and dry sand processing facilities, enabling the delivery of approximately 2.2 million tons of frac sand per year. As of June 30, SSLP had approximately 217 million tons of proven recoverable sand reserves and 64 million tons of probable recoverable sand reserves.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Hi-Crush Partners LP announced the appointment of Jeffery A. Johnson as director of environmental compliance, with the responsibility for maintaining and administering the regulatory compliance programs for all Hi-Crush facilities. Johnson brings more than 15 years of experience to the company, with the majority working within the environmental regulatory programs at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Johnson will have a senior leadership role in the continued development and implementation of Hi-Crush's environmental programs. “Hi-Crush continues to be fully committed to operating in an environmentally responsible manner and strives not only to meet, but to exceed, environmental regulatory requirements in the communities where we operate,” said Robert E. Rasmus, co-chief executive officer of Hi-Crush. “We are excited that Jeff has joined the Hi-Crush team and believe that Jeff's extensive experience and leadership in regulatory and environmental matters is a great fit for Hi-Crush as we continue to expand our operations.”

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • The Land Stewardship Project is proclaiming that 47 frac sand companies currently operating in Wisconsin were reviewed by their organization, and environmental violations and other abuses were found to be abundant. The violations outlined in the report include sediment and wastewater spills, air quality problems, and illegal drilling and construction. Rich Budinger, president of the Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association, said there is an industry commitment to the environment, but issues around zoning and land use are a byproduct of new development or construction. Budinger also notes the industry has created thousands of jobs in Wisconsin, and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth.

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This Week’s Market Buzz

  • Frac sand in ambient air does not pose a health concern for Winona residents, according to the Winona Daily News. The first look at eight months’ worth of air monitoring data in downtown Winona, Minn., showed silica sand was, for the most part, undetectable. Only two samples taken from state monitors between January and August detected silica in the air, and both were well below the health standard set by the Minnesota Department of Health. “There isn’t a silica-related health issue in Winona at this time,” said Minnesota Pollution Control Agency spokesperson Jeff Hedman during a special meeting with local officials and the public, where MPCA officials presented results taken from air monitors on top of the YMCA.

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