More than half the frac sand companies operating in Wisconsin have violated Department of Natural Resources regulations, manipulated local governments or engaged in “influence peddling and conflicts of interest,” a study by an advocacy group has found.
The Land Stewardship Project, a Minnesota-based nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, released this week a 30-page report that compiled and analyzed public data and news reports on Wisconsin’s booming frac sand industry.
A subterranean labyrinth of iron, copper and nickel wraps its way around Lake Superior, the largest expanse of freshwater on our planet. The labor needed to pull these ancient minerals out of the ground has sustained parts of the rural population around the lake for 150 years. Today, globaldemand for the remaining deposits is climbing. As an extractive industry drools, environmentalists panic. Lobbyists descend.
Environmental enforcement activity by the state Department of Natural Resources has dropped dramatically in the past two years, according to data from the agency, with the number of permit violation notices hitting a 12-year low in 2011.