Public Issues Series: The Impact of Frac Sand Mining in Wisconsin

Environmental ethicist Dale Murray, associate professor of philosophy at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and UW-Richland, is on the lecture circuit across Wisconsin discussing frac sand mining. Murray, a 2012-13 Fellow of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, is studying the possible effects and ethical implications of frac sand mining on Wisconsin’s environment and human communities.

Hydraulic fracturing (“fracing”) provides not only the promise of accessible and plentiful reserves of natural gas, but also the possibility of cheaper and cleaner energy, enhanced job creation, increased national security, and a viable “bridge” fuel to still cleaner alternative sources in the future. While fracing for natural gas is not practiced in Wisconsin, frac sand mining (the extraction of silica sand for use in the fracing process) is, with several new mines and processing facilities cropping up throughout the central and western portion of the state.