The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 4, 2013

Your View: Silica mining carries risks

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thursday night the MPCA held a meeting in downtown Mankato to discuss the permit draft allowing Jordan Sands to build a fracking sand mining operation in our community.

Twenty concerned citizens were there, including Rep. Clark Johnson. The MPCA provided data regarding the environmental impact of the mine to air and water. The rock over the aquifer from which Mankato gets its water will be removed to mine silica, exposing the aquifer to infiltrates of carcinogens. Thirty five tons of 2.5 micron silica (glass) will be released annually into the air. Over 770 million gallons of water will be used annually.

Jordan Sands is owned by Coughlan Industries. Their website refers to the family’s 125 years of “service to the Mankato area,” including “environmental stewardship.”

In considering the local impact to water and air, and the use of the fracking sand to dislodge oil and gas in countless locations around the nation, I am reminded of the song “Masters of War.” In it Dylan challenges the leaders of industry, who place personal gain over the well being of others.

If you think I am exaggerating the risks of fracking by comparing it to war, consider global changes in climate, and precipitous declines in reserves of drinking water. Our use of natural resources is fast outpacing nature’s capacity to renew them. Silica in the air is a known health risk, particularly to children and the elderly. We will soon have a potent risk right in our community.

Mark Traxler