"TUNNEL CITY -- This western Wisconsin community is in the midst of a land rush — call it a sand rush — fueled by exploding nationwide demand for fine silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing. In this process, nicknamed “fracking,” sand, water and chemicals are blasted into wells, creating fissures in the rock and freeing hard-to-reach pockets of oil and natural gas.
At least 16 frac-sand mines and processing facilities are operating, and an additional 25 sites are proposed, in a diagonal swath stretching across 15 Wisconsin counties from Burnett to Columbia, the Center has found. Chippewa County has seen the most action, as Wisconsin Public Radio’s Rich Kremer reported in June."
Jason Smathers reports for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism July 31, 2011.