Letter: Our voices silenced at frac forumAnother opportunity for information and dialogue lost. That's what the headline should say in the Republican Eagle about Thursday evening’s 2020 Quarterly Community Forum held at the Sheldon Theatre. Topic of discussion was the “Frac Sand Industry: A Public Informational Meeting.”
By: Rob Meyer, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
Another opportunity for information and dialogue lost. That's what the headline should say in the Republican Eagle about Thursday evening’s 2020 Quarterly Community Forum held at the Sheldon Theatre. Topic of discussion was the “Frac Sand Industry: A Public Informational Meeting.”
Unfortunately what the public received from the panel of “experts” was a lot of propaganda that was long on language and short on solid answers leaving little time for audience participation. Just another well-rehearsed play written by the oil and gas industry.
Dave Christianson, from Minnesota Department of Transportation, acted as the industry’s best sales rep as he jovially mentioned how much money his high school buddy is making off of sand mining. Heather Arends of the Department of Natural Resources offered the piteous explanation that frac sand mining “is inevitable” because “we need it.”
Didn’t someone once say the same thing about asbestos?
Neither mentioned the quality of life impacts of 200-400 trucks a day driving by homes six days a week, 16 hours a day. Neither talked about the decline of home and land values as the oil industry hauls half the county away in trucks, trains and barges, or about how everyone in the county is supposed to sit by and suffer through this process for 20 years so that 10 landowners can get rich. Or about how we have so much natural gas right now that we’re exporting it.
Worse, we didn’t get to ask because the mayor cut us off.
The only speaker with an on-point message was Hillary Carpenter, Minnesota Department of Health, who reminded the audience that the only way to avoid silicosis is to avoid breathing silica.
Is that possible? Recently, cows that graze downwind of frac sand mines have been acquiring silicosis. If the cows are breathing it, then so are we. And as Mr. Carpenter said, once silica is inhaled and silicosis sets in, there’s no going back.
As he closed the meeting down with questions going unanswered, Mayor Dennis Egan did our community his first newly elected disservice, he silenced the public voice.