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Why Frac Sand Mining is a Bad Thing for Iowa
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Governing Fracking Or Fracking Government? Watchdogs Question Conflicts Of Interest

Governing Fracking Or Fracking Government? Watchdogs Question Conflicts Of Interest | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
After facing heat from fellow residents of Red Wing, Minn., over his ties with an industry group intent on increasing frac sand mining in the state, the town's mayor, Dennis Egan, announced this week that he would step down.
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How Rural America Got Fracked

How Rural America Got Fracked | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
Food or frac-sand: it's a decision of vital importance across the country, but one most Americans don't even realize is being made -- largely by multinational corporations and dwindling numbers of yeoman farmers in what some in this country would ...
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Natural Gas Boom Spurs Midwest 'Frac Sand' Mining

Natural Gas Boom Spurs Midwest 'Frac Sand' Mining | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (AP) — The rolling hills and scenic bluffs of western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota hide a valuable resource that has sparked what's been called a modern-day gold rush.
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Alert: Mining for Fracking Sand in the Black Hills

Alert: Mining for Fracking Sand in the Black Hills | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it

Two sand mining companies are planning to extract silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing from the Black Hills region of Western South Dakota.

Sandman Products (374 Burlington ST. Pringle, SD 57773) and Cambrian Enterprises (3220 West Main Street, Rapid City, SD 57702) have obtained exploration permits to collect and test the sand deposits.

 

David Ganje, owner of Cambrian Enterprises, says the sand is in a prime location to serve oil and gas fields in the region.

“All the consultants I’ve spoken with said this would put us in a unique situation,” he said. “This is a specialized mineral sand.”

Frack sand mining poses threats to the environment as well as human health from exposure to silica dust. The process is currently being challenged in Minnesota.


Via Robert DesJarlait, Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson
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Farming, Foraging and Fracking: Our Fight Against the Machine

Farming, Foraging and Fracking: Our Fight Against the Machine | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
Three years ago, my wife and I decided to redirect our farming efforts to create a CSA. Our farm is located in some of the most spectacularly beautiful scenery in the whole of this country.
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Allamakee County Protectors

Allamakee County Protectors | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
Website for the organization "Allamakee County Protectors", a group formed to protect the natural resources, archaeological resources and historical resources from Frac Sand Mining and other harmful intrusions into our lives and homes.
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Woman Describes Life "Trapped" in Frac Sand Mining District

FULL verbatim interview @ http://www.WIvoices.org Small business owner, Brenda Tabor-Adams, lives with her husband and 2-year-old son in a silica frac sand m... ("Collateral Damage": people affected by frack-sand mining.
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The Other Hazard of Hydraulic Fracturing -- Silica in the Air

The Other Hazard of Hydraulic Fracturing -- Silica in the Air | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
This week, NPR broadcast an interesting report about a researcher who has been studying health effects on workers on frac crews.
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Sand Stampede: Frac Sand Mining Outside Beloved State Park 'Makes People Question The Whole Deal'

Sand Stampede: Frac Sand Mining Outside Beloved State Park 'Makes People Question The Whole Deal' | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
Susan and Merlin Calhoun's rural Illinois land is full of the same bluffs, canyons, waterfalls, bald eagles and barred owls that entice more than 2 million visitors to the adjacent Starved Rock State Park every year.
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The Frac Sand County Almanac: Does Proliferation Of Mines Threaten Public Health?

The Frac Sand County Almanac: Does Proliferation Of Mines Threaten Public Health? | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
While flying back home to Wisconsin earlier this fall, Victoria Trinko had no trouble spotting her family farm from the sky. She simply looked for the frac sand mines that have begun to punctuate the rural Midwestern landscape.
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Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers : NPR

Sand From Fracking Could Pose Lung Disease Risk To Workers : NPR | Frac sand mining | Scoop.it
The sand is pumped underground along with water and other chemicals to extract oil and natural gas trapped deep in rock.
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The Fall of Minnesota Proppant, LLC

    The banner across the top of the web site for Minnesota Proppant, LLC, proudly proclaims “Innovation with a Mindful Vision”. Had they focused more on “innovation” and less on making a ton of money in a very short time, they might still be a force to be reckoned with. As it is, the company has seen the majority (at least six, possibly seven of of the original eight) of it's investors withdraw as shareholders. The trail they have recently blazed away from the corporation and it's chief proponent, Rick Frick, was very solidly paved with the three million dollars they left behind.

 

    Minnesota Proppant started out as a group of eight investors from Minnesota and Wisconsin. From a column written by Tony Kennedy of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and dated October 2nd, 2012, Minnesota Proppant's investors were identified as:

 

Stuart Hagen of Mondovi, Wisconsin, and Centerville, Iowa. The lead investor of the group is an avid outdoorsman and a former fisheries manager for the Wisconsin DNR who now operates a real estate business. His holdings include student rental housing around the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire.Gunnar Hagen of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Business associate and son of Stuart Hagen. Among other things, he and his dad specialize in buying and selling recreational real estate for Mossy Oak Properties of Wisconsin.Rick Frick of Houston, Minnesota. Has developed agreements with various rural landowners to mine frac sand that would be sent to the proposed facility. (He is also the primary lease-holder on the properties where the sand mines would have been located had the St. Charles facility come to fruition.)Jed Hammell of Caledonia, Minnesota. Lawyer who has worked on the project with Rick Frick and other group members. Married to Houston County Attorney Jamie Hammell, who has recused herself from frac sand matters in Houston County.Chad Nolte of Chatfield, Minnesota. Land surveyor and life-long resident of Fillmore County.Jon Nolte of Spring Valley, Minnesota. Spring Valley township supervisor and father of Chad Nolte.Ted Marum of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Employed by Stuart Hagen. Work with Stuart and Gunnar includes consulting property owners in the Midwest on how to maximize their acreage for deer and turkeys.Mike Murphy of Winona, Minnesota.

  

     As far as being a wage-earner in this part of the country goes, these men are all at the top of the curve. One can assume they reached that lofty goal by working hard, making savvy investments and making their money work for them, instead of the other way around. In the case of Rick Frick (whose nickname really ought to be “Slick”) and Minnesota Proppant, LLC, their choice in savvy investments raises serious doubts.

    

      In all fairness to this group of investors, it must be assumed Mr. Frick is a pretty smooth talker. His dream of a combination trans-loading facility for the transport of agricultural products and massive amounts of frac-sand from the St. Charles, Minnesota area was a lofty and highly profitable goal. It would make millions for the investors and when combined with the extraction operation of several frac-sand mines (the leases of which are held by the smooth-talking Mr. Frick) in the area, it appeared to be a sure-fire deal. With John Nolte sitting on the Spring Valley Township board, his influence (although he surely recused himself from those decisions to avoid legal entanglements or conflict of interest concerns) on the passage of mining permits in the area would be immensely useful. Jed Hammell's reputation and standing as a widely respected and well known lawyer in Caledonia, Minnesota couldn't hurt the corporation. And, the real estate development experience of the Hagens and Ted Marum were another valuable asset. Together, these men would be a formidable foe to anyone who would oppose their plans. By all appearances, Minnesota Proppant's plans for the St. Charles facility were a slam-dunk. Their under-estimation of the resolve of concerned citizens in St. Charles, St. Charles Township and Winona County to block the efforts of their plans to mine, process and ship frac-sand from the area around St. Charles, and their willingness to fall victim to the ease of that plan as presented by “Slick” Rick Frick, was their downfall.

 

    Let's first take a look at Mr. Frick and his ability to express himself in a clear manner. Obviously, he was able to pitch his dream to his investors in a manner that sold them - hook, line and sinker. Had these men done a little research instead of listening to the sound of money falling into their hands, they would have discovered what Mr. Frick is really all about. In one Minnesota meeting with those opposed to the proposed operation and it's related sand mines, Frick answered their concerns of leasing local farmland to mining concerns by saying, “...it's just sand. And you all know, if you give a farmer a buck, he'll spend two.” One can only guess he meant to say that any money invested in land leases would be doubled in returned investments to the community. He just had a more colorful, colloquial way of saying it.

 

    Mr. Frick was asked at another Minnesota meeting about the harmful effects of the silica dust raised by sand mining operations and how he planned to control it. Opponents of the sand mines and related trans-loading and processing facilities are rightfully concerned about fugitive silica dust. It does cause silicosis and there are literally no regulations regarding it's control and/or monitoring when it comes to off-site exposure in the state of Minnesota. His answer to this very important question was to state simply, “...it's no different than corn dust.” (Note to self: research the harmful effects of cornicosis for a future post.)

 

    These two statements alone should have been grounds enough to question Mr. Frick's motives for the establishment of the corporation and it's operations. Not being one to allow the lack of substantiated evidence to stand in his way of showing concern for nearby residents or how they might be affected by the future operations of Minnesota Proppant, his blatant condescension in his answers to legitimate questions from concerned residents is overwhelmingly apparent. Pulling most of his answers to those important questions from straight out of his hat, he only exposed his own self-serving motives. But the concerned citizens of St. Charles, who clearly stood to lose a lot more than money, thankfully saw right through him.

 

    At every turn, Minnesota Proppant encountered opposition from the citizens they were trying to steamroll – unexpected opposition, by all appearances. Time after time, as much as Mr. Frick and Minnesota Proppant, LLC tried to play the wording of regulations, grease the wheels of the permitting processes or smooth-talk their way into making their facility a reality, they were stymied by the concerned citizens of St. Charles. This unexpected opposition was not only successful in slowing the process down, it was successful in stopping it altogether. On Tuesday, March 12th, Minnesota Proppant, LLC, lost their grip on the community when the St. Charles City Council voted not to allow any further permitting for the proposed facility. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. All but one of the original investors have pulled out of “Frick's Fancy”.

 

    It's at this point when one fully realizes just how driven Rick Frick is when it comes to pursuing his money-laden dreams. Minnesota Proppant, LLC is not finished. When asked by a reporter what his plans were now that City Council's ruling has all but finished off his plan, Frick stated, “I’m going ahead with everything. If St. Charles doesn’t want it ... fine. I will find another spot. There is no doubt about it.” He has also proposed the facility at St. Charles will now return to the original concept (“Farm2Rail”) as a trans-loading facility for frac-sand and agricultural products; this time around without the frac-sand.

 

    In it's latest incarnation, Minnesota Proppant, LLC management has a new look. Frick has aligned himself with local businessman and consultant/promoter, Mitch Bublitz. Mr. Bublitz is the CEO of “Best Way Promotions”, a Houston, Minnesota business which provides a wide variety of promotional items in the form of buttons, ribbons, hand-fans, refrigerator magnets, key chains, etc. In an almost comic representation on their web site, the face of Mr. Bublitz has been “photo-shopped” onto classic portrayal of Uncle Sam in his patriotic pointing pose and exhorting, “We want you to push our buttons!” Mr. Bublitz, I am about to oblige your request.

 

    Already proving his undying concern for residents of Minnesota neighborhoods under siege from the sand-mining industry, Mr. Bublitz has exemplified “self-serving” with his statements to local newspapers.

 

From the Winona, Minnesota Post, March 19th - “Lewiston (Minnesota) is looking for someone from Minnesota Sands and Minnesota Proppant to put a rail facility in their fair city," Bublitz said. "I think that's a great idea. That type of attitude is what is going on in Wisconsin. They all want to have a rail loading facility so they can tax it.”From the Winona, Minnesota Post, March 19th - “There is this myth that someone in some far off land is going to make this money. That is not true. (Minnesota Proppant) is all locally owned and operated. There is no big company out there that is going to extract all the money and take it far far away.”From the Winona, Minnesota Post, March 19th - “We anticipate sand being mined, and so the question is where is the plant going to be located? Which township is going to be receiving all the property tax dollars? Which community is going to benefit the most for labor, and the business that all these worker(s) bring? St. Charles is missing an opportunity.”And, maybe the best one of all, also from the Winona, Minnesota Post, March 19th and referring to the now apparently useless 302 acre site near St. Charles, “...if nothing else, we'll raise corn and beans on it."

 

    If there is anything more than personal gain and the development of individual fortune to it's shareholders behind the “new” Minnesota Proppant, LLC, I'd sure like to know what it is. It's just the “same old, same old” from yet another slick salesman for a sand-mining concern that knows no concern...other than its own.

 

    They will continue to seek out the areas in which they can find willing victims who will fall prey to their seductive sales pitches. And when they find what they are looking for, they will exploit them to feed their own greedy appetite for easy money from sand-mining.

 

    If you see anyone walking the streets of your town in southeastern Minnesota or village in Wisconsin wearing a button that says “It's Just Sand!”, you'll know it came from the snake-oil purveyors known as Bublitz and Frick – “Our Only Concern is Your Future”.

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Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

Controls sought for growing frack sand mining: Sen. Kathleen Vinehout is circulating five bills that would give... http://t.co/z6Xphd7o7A
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