11. Fracking Mining Threatens Western Wisconsin, our Country and World

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Flattening The Hilltoppers? Frac Sand Mine is Proposed Near Wisconsin School. More than 100 frac sand mines and processing facilities, like this one outside of Bloomer, Wis., have cropped up across the state over the last few years.

Everyone who used natural gas (methane) to warm their home or place of business last year in the county should also read this excellent series on the wide-reaching impacts of the “fracking” (fracturing) industry in Wisconsin. The facts are clear: while the increasingly plentiful supplies natural gas and oil from newly fractured drilling well sites in North Dakota have been a boon of sorts especially to the nearby communities, the large quantities of sand excavated in Wisconsin and shipped to North Dakota for fracturing the drilling wells (sand is injected into the wells with mining fluids, adding pressure, resulting in fracturing the surrounding shale rock, which then frees up the methane from the surrounding shale) is creating havoc in many Western Wisconsin communities. The money that is ultimately made from selling the natural gas and oil produced by the North Dakota wells and sold throughout the U.S. often results in a windfall to the oil and natural gas industry and to the land owners. However, the operations from this industry also often result in the creation of many different kinds of effects, mainly negative, both to Western Wisconsin communities and the country and world as a whole.

The effects on the local communities and the environment in general come in the form of noise and air pollution at the drilling and sand mining sites, the permanent scarring and loss of habitat on the land, bluff, or mountain tops altered by the mining of the sand; and the air pollution emissions and noise created along the trucking routes, as well as the ground and surface water pollution at the drilling well sites, the sand mining sites, the sand processing sites, and the used frac sand disposal sites.

Of course there are also much broader negative effects of the continued growth of the fracing industry in the U.S. and elsewhere. The addition fuel mined and ultimately burned for heat or energy production is adding millions more tons of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere and oceans. Every cubit foot of natural gas that is burned releases .12 cubic tons carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, where it will remain upwards of one hundred years. This is adding to the mounting billions of tons more greenhouse (heat trapping) gases in that are present in our atmosphere, above and beyond the amounts that were present in the atmosphere when humans first began burning huge quantities of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) in a big way during the Industrial Revolution. The level of greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere have presently reached historically high levels, which reputable global warming scientists the world over say poses a very real and dangerous threat to all of humanity.

For example, the most voluminous of the greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide – reached the milestone of 400 parts per million twice in the past three weeks. That level is already too high, say the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists, and the result has been grave consequences, including injury or death to millions of people, especially families and individuals living within the world’s coastal cities where strong hurricanes come ashore. They have been impacted as the result of increased storm activities associated with warming and rising seas (ocean levels are rising from the expanding warmer water in the ocean and from new sources of ocean water, such as the water originating on lands from previously year-round-frozen glaciers – for example ice packs in Greenland, high mountain tops, and melt waters from Antarctica. Moreover, the oceans are also 30% more acidic than pre-Industrial Revolution times, which has adversely impacted some ocean species with significant fishing losses, losses of marine life and coral reefing destruction. Scientists predict that, by the end of this century, this will have a devastating impact on our plant, with many more deadly heat waves, higher humidity, massive coastal as well as inland flooding, more powerful storms, everywhere, more rain in the off season but longer and more widespread drought during the growing season, and more widespread insect infestations, due to fewer cold snaps that formerly limited the poleward movement of such species.

These broader effects are the likely impacts of higher than natural emissions of greenhouse gases from human-caused activities, which are proven to be resulting from historically high burning of fossil fuels (most notably coal, oil and natural gas). In the frac sand mining processes, greenhouse gases are emitted in using energy to excavate and deliver large volumes of sand from Western Wisconsin to the North Dakota drilling well sites, delivering the gas and ultimately resulting from emissions from burning the final product in the form of carbon dioxide, the most abundant og the greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. The concentration level in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million twice in the last three weeks and is the highest concentration level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in over 2,5 million years, which occurred when the oceans were 60-80 feet higher than they are now.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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