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February 2013
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Frac Sand Mines in Iowa

fracking-hell-1A friend from the fight against the coal-fired power plants in Waterloo and Marshalltown sent a note about mining companies wanting to move into Iowa to extract silica sand for hydraulic fracturing. There is a lot of silica sand laying in the Driftless Area of Iowa, and the growing presence of hydraulic fracturing in the country has created a significant demand for the product. Mining companies want into Iowa to extract what is being called “frac sand.”

The Allamakee County Board of Supervisors declared an 18 month moratorium on frac sand mining to study the matter. The exploration and mining is ongoing in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, although this week, a bill declaring a one-year moratorium on new frac sand mines passed the Minnesota state senate. It seems, at least for the moment, there will be no new coal plants in Iowa, and no new nuclear power plants, so is the fight against silica sand mining the next environmental challenge?

The Allamakee County Protectors is a group of concerned Iowans leading the fight against frac sand mining in the state of Iowa. Check out their web site to learn more about the group and their concerns. They scheduled a lobby day at the Iowa State House on Thursday, March 14.

The Iowa discussion about hydraulic fracturing is inevitable. There are limited regulations in Iowa for exploration and development of natural gas using this method, and the early debate over frac sand is a part of it. Stay tuned.

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