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Drost Written Testimony

Drost Written Testimony

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03/11/2013

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 February 26, 2013
Dear Senators John Marty and Matt Schmit,I am very pleased that there is legislative action so quickly after last weekstestimony and I commend everyone involved. Since a year and a half hasalready passed since frac-sand mining has begun in earnest in the state of Minnesota, you will have to work hard to get out in front of the sand miners.There is a great need for State Government help to the counties and towns of Minnesota. There is no possible way that town boards and county boards candeal with the industrial sand mining companies unless they have assistancefrom the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that has prepared theguidelines for them, and an Environmental Impact Statement is reviewed by theMDNR to determine if transfer stations, wet and/or dry plant, or shippingtraffic is feasible in that location. And how does what you are doing in onelocation affect other towns and counties in the area, other businesses, farmersand their live stock and land, other resources such as water, clean air, wildlife,wind and weather, and natural irrigation from the hills; and most of all, do thehealth risks dwarf the gains?
Let‟s explore some of the
myths that are out there.
1. “Minnesota needs these high paying j
obs that frac-
sand mining brings.” Yes
they are higher paying jobs for those that get one. But generally it means a lossof more jobs in other sectors so that employment often ends up negative. Addto that many small businesses going out of business or bankrupt. ThomasPower Ph.D is only one of many researchers that have found mining in generalto be more negative than beneficial.Commentaries
by Thomas M. Power Ph.D
 
2. “The US needs this sand for fracking because it will make the US energyindependent.”
 This is wrong on two counts: 1. There simply is not enough water for frackingto make the US energy self-sufficient; and natural gas venting through the
earth‟s crust, from the wells themselves, and the burning of natural gas leaves a
carbon footprint more than twice the size of the oil used for energy. If frackinggoes on without control, the US will simply run out of usable water. 2. The USis exporting 70% of all the frack oil and 30 % of the frac-liquid natural gas over 
 
seas. Presently, the gas industry wants to up the percentage to 40% with thefinal goal of 70%. Less than 15 years ago the Ogallala aquifer had 978 trilliongallons of water and had an average depth of 240 feet. This aquifer stretchesfrom Texas to South Dakota and is used for irrigation, drinking water, alcohol production (13 gallons of fresh water turned to toxic water for every 1 gallon of alcohol produced), and fracking (depending on the well, 1 million to 7 milliongallons of water are used per fracking operation and a well can be fracked up to18 times.). In less than 15 years of usage the Ogallala now has less than 1/3
rd
of 
it‟s water left. With frackin
g on the rise, we can expect the Ogallala to run outof water in 5 to 8 years. We may be drilling for clean water then, and hoping toget it to the house for 4 or 5 dollars/gallon.(Some people in the above mentioned states want to pump water from LakeSuperior; how long will Lake Superior remain the largest fresh water body inthe world?)
 
Have we learned nothing from the Reserve Mining affair? Obviously many inWisconsin have not. Oh, how quickly man forgets or greed gets in his way.
3. “Frac
-
sand companies are „good neighbors‟”. From my point of view, I don‟tthink so. Unless of course one doesn‟t see the bullying of local boards with
threats of lawsuit or the ignoring of moratoriums and town ordinances as beinga bad neighbor. I have seen or heard of this in four different states and personally know of several cases. These sand companies see lawsuits as thecost of doing business, whether they initiate the lawsuit or one is filed againstthem. Only the State has the power to control them, and that is the reason thatthe companies want the regulation of their activities left with the localauthorities.With this letter, it is my hope to impress upon you, just how complicated thisissue is. Obviously, you are both aware that it is a global issue, and it is myhope that you will base your approach to regulation on a broad spectrum of inquiry.Thank you for your time.Sincerely Yours,
 James J. Drost BS, MS Mining & Metallurgical Research Engineering 
 
8682 Jamaca Ave. N.Stillwater, MN 55082Tel. 651-426-2779

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