by Mark J. Krumenacher, P.G., GZA
Despite the prevalence of fact-based research describing the impacts of industrial sand mining on the environment, economy, road use, land use, property values and health; the actions of a tiny minority of individuals continue to vie for media and political attention. Such actions include a few focused social media outlets such as on Facebook and blogs, recycled opinion pieces submitted as letters to the editor of print and on-line media, anti-mining seminars camouflaged as legitimate information sharing events, and fund raisers. Some of the outfall of these activities are misguided college professors seeking relevance while implying that Hollywood movies like Gasland and frustrated documentaries like The Price of Sand are “scientific”, and local town boards frightened into action despite no indication that mining in their communities are desired or reasonably feasible to occur.
Although the vast majority of anti-sand mining social media websites have made themselves obsolete and irrelevant, there are some that continue to hold on by sharing recycled stories without contributing to a rational or realistic understanding of the issue. There are others that strive to keep alive and current. Those websites that have faded away have done so because the fears and impacts that they have claimed to prophesize, have not come true and the passage of time and reality have instead demonstrated the facts. However, it can be said that a lie travels around the world ten times before the truth reaches the door, so groups hiding behind legitimate environmental associations or agricultural concerns consistently ignore the science in attempts to raise concern, their public exposure and presumably money.
An unfortunate outcome are misguided political activities that spend public funds to enact moratoriums, institute outright bans, and retain attorneys to develop restrictive ordinances based on emotions and not on facts. Political accusations, pressures and threats of recalls continue. Lawsuits against individuals, companies, landowners, townships and counties continue to occur, in some areas based on accusations of impropriety and are filled with rhetoric and facts gleaned from the few remaining anti-mining social media websites as if they were newfound revelations. Nowhere in the accusations against mining are technically justified or vetted facts used to support the claims, and any fact based studies are simply ignored or dismissed by these same accusers.
To hear more on this topic, attend the 2016 Frac Sand Industry Update on March
10, 2016 at The Houstonian Hotel in Houston, TX, where Mark Krumenacher (GZA) and Isaac Orr (The Heartland Institute) will be presenting on “Continued Political, Regulatory and Activist Opposition to Frac Sand Mining Despite Changes in the Market”.
The presentation will summarize recent fact-based research papers and a health impact assessment addressing industrial sand mining and provide an overview
of active, ongoing social media, organized activities and legal actions focused on industrial sand operations in the Upper Midwest.