Given the state’s boom in frac sand mining and processing, the state Department of Natural Resources would like to add two staff members to help monitor air quality.
In its biennial budget request, the DNR requested two additional Air Program staff to work on compliance and permitting at frac sand and other mining sites around the state.
“We understand the growing concern for environmental protection as this industry continues to expand,” DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said.
Tom Woletz, the agency’s frac sand expert, said the state and local governments have been working on management issues, such as air and water quality as well as post-mine reclamation, which are performed by counties with DNR oversight.
“We’re also working with the newly formed Wisconsin Industrial Sand Association,” Woletz said.
WISA is a group of frac sand companies in the state that will help set ethics standards and best practices for the industry.
“By engaging this organization, along with other groups and the general public, we hope to keep an open dialogue that helps us provide the best management possible for the protection of our state’s public health and the environment,” Woletz added.
Chippewa County has at least nine existing or proposed frac sand sites.