Wisconsin Legislation May Strip Towns of Authority to Stop Fracking
One of the few tools for Wisconsin citizens to protect their health and land from the hazards of expanded frac sand mining across the state could be weakened by a newly introduced bill in the state legislature.
The state's Senate is considering a piece of legislation today aimed at "limiting the authority" of Wisconsin cities, villages or towns to enact a "development moratorium ordinance" -- a mechanism used recently by several local governments across the state to set aside time so they can investigate the effects of proposed mining on their community.
Sand mining corporations have expanded operations in Wisconsin over the past few years, taking advantage of the lax regulations of non-metallic mining in the state. They are after the state's sand resources, which are high in silica content, for use in the controversial “natural” gas and oil extraction process of “fracking” -- which has been linked to contaminated water supplies across the country. Much of Wisconsin's sand is the ideal shape and strength -- and the state's geologic profile has made it more accessible here than in other parts of the country -- turning the state into a top targeted provider for the “natural” gas and oil industry.