Commentary: Live in the local bubble at everyone's perilWhile at the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission meeting July 16 concerning frac sand mining, I was impressed by the input of so many citizens of Goodhue County.
By: Bill Habedank, The Republican Eagle
While at the Goodhue County Planning Advisory Commission meeting July 16 concerning frac sand mining, I was impressed by the input of so many citizens of Goodhue County. I was glad I could get in my two cents worth as well. I know my message strayed a little from the local level and I want to explain why because I feel it is that important.
While we do face a critical decision, one that impacts so many locals, we are bumping heads with much more powerful entities than a mining company. We are facing the entire energy conglomerate with mountains of money (much of it subsidized by you the taxpayer) and a majority of support in Congress. These corporations do not care about people impacted by their decisions. The sooner we realize this, the better.
We need to put in place ordinances that are highly protective even if it means no frac sand mining will ever occur. In doing so we will be targets of the giants, so prepare.
At the meeting I saw people emotionally involved in their pleas to preserve what they cherish about living in Goodhue County. You can tell they fear what they will lose if frac sand mining takes hold. Frac sand mining will become an insatiable monster like a giant Pac Man creating a landscape such as you see in coal country.
Of course, we need to stand up for our rights at home, but we must be prepared to take this beyond the local level. Everything you hate about frac mining should make you hate the entire process of hydraulic fracking for oil and natural gas.
Yes, we need oil and gas, but what is more valuable? Should it come as the price we pay for our health and wellbeing? I said at the meeting I was most concerned about ground water resources — the most valuable thing we have. We don’t know how much is down there. We know that frac sand mining will put a terrible strain on that resource.
Now compound that with the warmer temperatures, which seem to be the norm now, and you can see the severity of what we face. Groundwater use will increase and that alone may put us over the tipping point of a decent quality of life right here in Goodhue County and as it will all over the United States.
Hydraulic fracking uses prodigious amounts of drinkable water which is lost forever. Most of our drinking water will end up in the Gulf of Mexico and the rest undrinkable. Will we have to buy all our drinking water from Nestle?
If you think this is an exaggeration, look at pictures of reservoirs of water drying up all over the country and water tables dropping from reduced rainfall but increasing usage. Of course, we must preserve what we have here, but we need to attack this frac sand mining at its source because the energy giants are not going to relent one iota.
We do not live in a bubble. However, we are guilty of doing just that right here and in our whole society. We say, “Well, that’s a local problem” when it’s not just. Or say we, “Well that’s a federal problem” when it’s also not just.
These lines of thinking get us into trouble by passing the buck or tippy-toeing around the ultimate source of the problem. This must cease if we are to solve these serious problems.
If we continue to live and think this way, that bubble will burst before you know it.