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March webinar frac_sand

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In this discussion of frac sand mining in Wisconsin, Kim Wright, Executive Director of Midwest Environmental Advocates, Inc., examines environmental and public health issues.

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March webinar frac_sand

  1. 1. We use the power of the law to support grassroots groups working for environmental justice in the Western Great Lakes region
  2. 2. Frac Sand Mining in Western Wisconsin Landscape-scale destruction unchecked
  3. 3. http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/frac-sand-mining-sites- more-than-doubled-in-past-year/article_a61b8784-d47a-11e1- a79c-001a4bcf887a.html Wisconsin supplies more than two-thirds of the frac sand used in North America
  4. 4. Campaign contributions increased over 1200% from 2007-2012 The number of frac sand operations grew at a similar rate
  5. 5. Every part of the process causes problems for local communities
  6. 6. Industrial activities are regulated with old laws designed for gravel pits Stormwater controls are under a general permit with no technical standards appropriate for the scale of frac sand operations
  7. 7. http://www.wateronline.com/doc/do-wisconsin-s-frac-sand-mines- endanger-groundwater-0001 “Washing” the sand to isolate the marketable size and grade uses lots of clean water, from high capacity wells. Area residents have had trouble with the quality & quantity of well water
  8. 8. Preferred Sands processing facility in Blair uses thousands of gallons of water per minute http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2013/03/03/impacts-of-frac-sand-mines/
  9. 9. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/mines/documents/silicasandminingfinal.pdf DNR Natural Resources Board (NRB) directed staff to study the rapidly expanding frac sand industry in 2010. The link below is to the report finished in 2012 that called for cumulative impact studies if the number of mines and processing facilities continued to grow. There were less than 10 frac sand operations then, now there are over 150 with many more in the permitting process. The legislature changed state law to prohibit citizens from challenging high capacity wells with sound science.
  10. 10. “Conservation must have continuity of purpose and policy and freedom from interference by political control or manipulation.” Aldo Leopold 1927 The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary was appointed by a citizen board for 70 years. The independence and scientific autonomy of the DNR has continually eroded sine the secretary became a gubernatorial appointee in 1995.
  11. 11. Campaign contributions increased over 1200% from 2007-2012 The number of frac sand operations grew at a similar rate
  12. 12. Local Governments and citizens have a critical role in providing meaningful conditions to protect Public Health and the Environment
  13. 13. Green Bay Press Gazzette, March 3, 2014
  14. 14. The costs and burdens of protecting public health and the environment are primarily on the backs of citizen advocates. as the WI-DNR is increasingly starved for resources and choked by politics and special interest money.
  15. 15. “Environmental laws don’t enforce themselves, somebody has to step up, and that somebody is us.” Arlen Christenson Public Intervenor Board Founding Board President of MEA
  16. 16. MEA is providing legal services to families in Trempealeau County challenging air permits issued by the DNR.
  17. 17. Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust has sharp edges and gets lodged deep in the lungs and has been proven to cause silicosis, cancer and other serious health problems These tiny particles are a waste product of frac sand mining and little is done to control or contain it Smooth, round sand is used in fracking
  18. 18. Health surveillance for those exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) Your work involves dusts that can cause lung diseases. Although it arises in obviously dusty environments RCS dust is invisibly fine. It is breathed in through the nose and mouth and can stay in the lungs for many years. It can cause irreversible lung damage before any symptoms develop. The illness it causes may continue to worsen even after exposure stops. Silicosis Silicosis is a major disease risk from RCS dust. It causes small hard nodules of scar tissue to develop in the lungs that are seen on a chest X-ray. Silicosis usually takes some years to develop. There is also an acute form of silicosis that occurs at very high exposures. This can start within a short time and can kill within a few months of first exposure. The main symptoms are cough and difficulty in breathing. Workers with silicosis are at increased risk of tuberculosis and lung cancer and may also develop kidney disease and arthritis (and related diseases).
  19. 19. Many homes and public buildings wouldn’t pass OSHA standards for air quality, putting the public at great risk, yet their own government fails to act.
  20. 20. NIOSH Policy Statement Respiratory Protection Recommendations for Airborne Exposures to Crystalline Silica The following describes the NIOSH policy for respiratory protection against airborne exposures to crystalline silica. Recommendation NIOSH recommends the use of half-face piece particulate respirators with N95 or better filters for airborne exposures to crystalline silica at concentrations less than or equal to 0.5 mg/m3. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also specifies the use of at least a 95-rated filter efficiency [29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.134]. The recommendation for a 95-rated filter efficiency reflects the improved filter efficiency of N95 filters over the earlier dust and mist (DM) filters. A comprehensive respirator program must be instituted prior to the use of 42 CFR 84 respirators. The requirements for a comprehensive respirator program may be found in the OSHA respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2008-140/pdfs/2008-140.pdf
  21. 21. Homes and schools are surrounded by frac sand operations Public Health is at risk from unchecked industrial activities
  22. 22. www.midwestadvocates.org @MidwestAdvocate /MidwestEnvironmentalAdvocates