The Free Press, Mankato, MN

March 4, 2013

Your View: Beware of silica sand mining promises

Sue Raasch, Kasota

— During the Joint Environmental and Energy committee hearing at the State Capitol Feb. 19, a representative of a workers union stated that there would be a 1.8 multiplier for all silica sand mining jobs produced by the proposed Jordan Sands project (40 jobs in addition to 50 Jordan Sands employees).

Lynn Schoen, Wabasha City Council member, speaking at a concurrent news conference, responded to a question from a reporter about a similar promise made in Wabasha. She said that their experience was that most of the industry workers hired in Wabasha came from outside the area and that studies have shown that industries of this type experience cyclical business conditions.

When silica sand prices drop and layoffs occur, these workers will quickly retreat to their original homes or move on to the next “boom.”

In addition, several businesses in the path of the development were forced to close and probably will not reopen, resulting in a negative employment impact.

The future of silica sand mining and the hydraulic (fracking) industries is still in jeopardy. Potential restrictions or a total shutdown of fracking process are being discussed.

If that were to occur, we would be left with an ugly, severely scarred landscape and abandoned industries. Taxpayers would absorb the costs.