According to Post-Bulletin.com, the Goodhue County, Minn., Mining Study Committee voted to recommend that the county’s silica sand mining moratorium not be extended. The issue passed by a 7-2 vote. Goodhue County was the first Minnesota county to face organized citizen opposition in 2011 after Windsor Permian, an Oklahoma-based energy company, purchased 155 acres of land near Red Wing with the intent of creating the county’s first frac sand mine. The county adopted a one-year moratorium in Sept. 2011 to study health and environmental concerns related to the industry. When questions remained after intensive study, the county board voted to extend that moratorium for a second year.
A new study reported in Science magazine claims the strongest link to date between wastewater wells and earthquakes. Seismologists and geologists claim U.S. earthquakes have become roughly five times more common in the past three years. They warn about inadequate monitoring of deep wastewater disposal wells that are setting off these small quakes nationwide. There are more than 30,000 such deep disposal wells nationwide. They're increasingly used as mile-deep dumping grounds for fluids left over from the more shallow hydraulic fracturing wells. The earthquakes have been linked to the wastewater wells but not the fracking drilling wells themselves. Tom Stewart, executive vice president of the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, quoted by Columbus Business First, said new injection-well studies sound like an academic exercise to him. “There are 140,000 injection wells operating safely in the United States,” Stewart said. “People keep trying to find ways to make this sound dangerous.”
According to the Baraboo News Republic, members of the public came out in droves to request that the Sauk County, Wis., Board be wary of frac sand mining and shipping. More than 15 people spoke to the board during a period of the meeting set aside for public comment. They urged the board to consider the potential impacts of frac sand mining and the shipping of frac sand through the county.