"Sand Mining Coming To a Town Near You"

"The state of Wisconsin is no longer a hot bed for metallic sulfide mining, having its Legislature kill a bill in March that would have streamlined mining permit process in favor of mining companies. But it is one of the hotbeds for another type of mining, sand mining, a billion-dollar business."

"The process known as 'fracking,' for hydraulic fracturing, is used by natural gas and oil drillers to more easily get the fossil fuels out of the ground, requires sand that is nearly perfectly round and has strength to withstand the process. Sand, water and toxic chemicals are blasted into wells, creating fissures in the rock and freeing hard-to-reach pockets of oil and natural gas. Mining firms can get $200 a ton for the sand.

Sand mining was popular in the 19th century, especially on Federal Hill in Baltimore, where workers mined for sand and glass – a booming business for the port city. But in more recent times Maryland has come down hard on companies that pollute the environment.  In November 2010, Laurel Sand and Gravel, and 1325 G Street Associates, the limited partnership that is managing the development of the mixed-used Konterra Town Center, in Maryland, paid a $170,000 fine for sediment and water-pollution violations. They were found to have unlawfully 'discharged wastewater, failure to follow an approved erosion and sediment control plan, and failure to comply with the mining permit at four current and former surface mining sites.'

While Texas and Illinois hold the market share in mines, Northwestern Wisconsin boasts some of the best fracking sand in the country and is in the midst of a sand rush of sorts. Companies are eyeing that part of the state with such fervor that regulations and zoning issues can’t seem to keep up."

Doug Hissom reports for the Baltimore Post-Examiner May 13, 2012.

SEE ALSO:

"Midwest Sees a Sand Rush" (Wall St. Journal)

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Source: Baltimore Post-Examiner, 05/15/2012