Rumor has it that there’s a fracking sand mine in the future down by Hay Creek. More on that here:

Are they frackin’ insane?

There’s a similar operation just across the river in Maiden Rock that’s grown with the natural gas surge, and here’s a video by Jim Tittle of what people who have to live with that mine think about it:

It’s not just about living next door. Stopping our Hay Creek mine is one part of the picture, that sand is the start of fracking, and stopping it is one thing we can do to slow the destruction of aquifers, land, and communities when natural gas drilling comes to town.

Are they frackin’ insane?

April 21st, 2011


There was a meeting at the Red Wing library Monday night about the rumored fracking sand mine south of Re d Wing, and just north of Hay Creek.  By the time the meeting was underway, it was standing room only.

The article from the Red Wing Republican Beagle is down below.


Here’s a post with some details of this project to be:

No frackin’ way!!!

Goodhue County’s Article 14 covers mining, but so far it’s been aggregate, and not silica, and it’s a different process, whole different sort of mining, so my thought is that Article 14 needs some amendments.  A ordinance change application is just $500 and some work to draft language…

Here’s a map — the site is on the left, and the transfer station in Florence Twp. is on the right, a railroad spur west of Hwy 61 near Hanson’s Harbor:


Citizens turn out in large numbers against possible Goodhue County sand mine

By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle

Keith Fossen speaks to more than 100 citizens at the “Stop the Silica Sand Mine” meeting held Monday night at the Red Wing Public Library.

“We were so afraid. We thought, we hope we get at least 10 people,” said Kathleen Bibus, one of the organizers of Monday’s “Stop the Silica Sand Mine” meeting.

They got their 10 people – 10 times over.

More than 100 citizens filled a Red Wing Public Library meeting room to learn what they can do about preventing silica sand from being mined across 155 acres in Hay Creek Township just two miles south of Red Wing.

Windsor Permian, part of the Oklahoma-based Windsor Energy, bought the land for $2.6 million earlier this year, and although it’s unknown what the company will do with the land, many citizens fear it will be used to mine silica sand.

Silica sand, as opposed to normal sand, is worth about $1,400 per ton.

Windsor Permian has already drilled exploratory wells, which can be done without a permit, but the company has not turned in any kind of application to Goodhue County for a permit allowing the mining of silica sand.

Goodhue County Land Use Management Director Lisa Hanni said that without having received an application, the county does not know many details about Windsor Permian’s plans.

“Let’s be realistic though, nobody pays $2.6 million for topsoil,” said Goodhue County Commissioner Jim Bryant, who helped answer questions from the public at the meeting. He lives in Hay Creek Township.

Citizens have the same mindset and are anticipating the company will apply for a permit to start mining.

If an application is turned in, the county is bound by state statute to make a decision about the permit within 60 days, unless an environmental assessment worksheet is needed. An EAW will be necessary if the aggregate mining operation is expected to exceed 40 acres in size to a mean depth of 10 feet.

One of the concerns citizens at the meeting raised was whether the sand mine would impact the groundwater and affect Hay Creek.

The public also asked if a permit is allowed with certain conditions listed, who would enforce them? For example, if an aggregate tax is required, Windsor Permian would have to report exactly how much sand it is taking out, but citizens at the meeting seemed hesitant to believe the required reporting would be enforced.

If and when a completed application from Windsor Permian is turned in, the Goodhue County Planning Commission will hold a hearing for anyone to come and voice more concerns.

For more info on the other end of the process, what they use the sand for (fracking) and to learn about what they’re doing with proppants:



STOP FRACKING NOW! (problem with site?)

In the New York Times (very interesting to learn that instant coffee is used!!!):

Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells

And here’s how bad it’s gotten in Pennsylvania:

PA DEP, Marcellus Shale Coalition Admit Drilling Wastewater Likely Contamination Drinking Water

No frackin’ way!!!

April 5th, 2011

Mine&TransportRouteAbove is the proposed mine location, on lower left, and alternate transportation routes to a rail/barge transfer station.  This is from the “Fight Against Fracking” page, just click this link!

Community Meeting

Red Wing Library

Monday April 18, 2011 @ 6:30 p.m.

Heard a while back that some gas company had bought land for big BIG money in Hay Creek Twp on both sides of Hwy. 58.   HUH?  Whatever for?


Recently another company, a different company, expanded a sand mine in Maiden Rock, and the sand is for use in fracking, used in drilling for natural gas.  An article on that mine:

Wisconsin’s diamonds: ‘Frac sand’

Here’s a page for a fracking sand corporation that’s a subsidiary of Fairmont Minerals, parent of Wisconsin Industrial Sand Company, and which has many other companies and names too… they’ve got mines in Maiden Rock and Hager City, WI, just across the river from here:


Fairmont Minerals is in the process of expanding that mine in Maiden Rock.  Here’s the Santrol Proppants product guide:

Santrol Proppants Product Guide

In Hay Creek Township, in Goodhue County, it’s supposedly Windsor Permian, which is in the gas drilling business… or as they say, “acquisition, exploration, development and production of high quality oil and gas reserves throughout the United States.”  Want to learn something about them?  Check their “History” page… oh… “Under Construction.”  Rumor has it that Windsor Permian is owned by Wexford Capital, LLC, a hedge fund managed by Charles Eugene Davidson.   I’ll keep digging.

The sand?  The plan is to mine it and ship it by truck, lots of trucks, to a site along Hwy. 61 in Frontenac!

One person’s take:

Frac sand is the hot commodity right now.  I understand that Bay City Mining is shipping 40 rails cars/week of frac sand with a wholesale value of $1500/ton (compared to $10/ton for pit run sand), a very lucrative prospect, especially if you are in the oil drilling/producing business.

The impact of sand mining totally depends on the alteration of water levels.  In Wisconsin the Jordan is totally dry so there is no dewatering, no surface runoff from the underground mines and only a little 4 acre load-out to the rail.  In other areas they need to de-water the Jordan in order to mine, usually high volume dewatering designed to lower the regional water level.  Large ethanol plant wells use 1000 gallon per minute, but are nothing compared to mine dewatering and to my knowledge there is nothing in SE that has ever been attempted.

… and …

By the way by my simple estimates at $1500 a ton it would only take about 1700 dumptruck loads to pay off the purchase price and then it’s all gravy.  Anyway I can’t help wondering where the wash water is going to come from AND when it’s going to end up when the “sand” is clean…   Makes you wonder…

… and …

They pull the water from Jordan Aquifer. Where they have done sand frac-ing mining in Wisconsin they have totally dried up the Jordan Aquifer and even small streams in the area where the mining was taking place.

It is very possible the mining operation could dry many local wells and adversely affect the stream flow level of Hay Creek. The only thing we have going for us, is Hay Creek is a designated trout stream. Designated trout streams have special legal restrictions that apply to land use practices that might cause negative impacts on the fishery or water flow levels of the creek.

What does Goodhue County have to say about it?  What authority, restrictions, conditions, requirements?

Article 14 – Mineral Extraction – Goodhue County Ordinance

Back to fracking.  What is it?

WIKI ON FRACKING (Hydraulic Fracturing)

Pretty cool, in the opener, they also answer my question, what the hell is a “proppant?”

A hydraulic fracture is formed by pumping the fracturing fluid into the wellbore at a rate sufficient to increase the pressure downhole to a value in excess of the fracture gradient of the formation rock. The pressure causes the formation to crack, allowing the fracturing fluid to enter and extend the crack farther into the formation. To keep this fracture open after the injection stops, a solid proppant, commonly a sieved round sand, is added to the fracture fluid. The propped hydraulic fracture then becomes a high permeability conduit through which the formation fluids can flow to the well.

And here’s a few words from the Wiki about the sand, something that should concern those of us near any mining operation:

A potential hazard that is commonly overlooked is the venting of bulk sand silos directly to atmosphere. When they are being filled, or emptied during the fracture, a fine cloud of silica particulate will be venting directly to atmosphere. This dust has the potential to travel many kilometers on the wind directly into populated areas. While the immediate personnel are wearing personal protective equipment, families in the area of a well fracture can potentially be exposed. However, sand used for proppant is washed to remove fines and is, therefore, virtually dust free.

Fracking has utterly screwed up Pennsylvania, where gas well are covering the countryside, New York too… I’m on a natural gas drilling list that contains some of the most distressing news ever, and to think that here in Goodhue County we’re contributing to that with our sand… and we’ll pay for it in the particulates spewed about hat go into our lungs, the massive truck traffic necessary to sustain this operation… eeeeeeeeeeuw, I do NOT like the sound of this.

If you’re interested, head on over to the meeting at the library:

Community Meeting

Red Wing Library

Monday April 18, 2011 @ 6:30 p.m.