LETTER: Conserve water: Say no to silica miningWater is so common, so ubiquitous, so taken for granted that we seldom dwell on its immediate availability.
By: Richard W. Johnson, The Republican Eagle
Water is so common, so ubiquitous, so taken for granted that we seldom dwell on its immediate availability. It is there to quench our thirst at home, in streets, parks, businesses, schools. We drink it, clean clothes, driveways and cars with it. We fish in it, skate on it and float a canoe on it.
Unfortunately, we foul it, poison it, and flush our toilets too many times with it.
Maybe if water had a color and an odor, we would give it more attention.
Minnesota is on the cusp of a critical shortage. This has not occurred due to recent droughts or lack of rainfall, but rather, a drying up of major aquifers running under the state. The only permanent way to alleviate it is to cut down on usage.
A start on reducing domestic usage is watering laws, gardens, washing cars, eliminating swimming pools and using more efficient toilets. The problem is not just a reduced supply it is a steadily increasing, relentless demand.
The three areas of demand — domestic, agricultural and industrial — are now confronted with an insidious need to supply needs for silica sand. Many mines in central and southwest Wisconsin are using an excess of 1,000,000 gallons a day each for cleaning the sand. Once used, the water is poisoned and useless for other purposes.
There are numerous reasons to reject "frac" sand mining in Goodhue County, including cancer-causing agents, noise, dust and truck traffic, but the destruction of our fresh water supply is fast becoming the most urgent.
The oil companies estimate there is 100 years of natural gas in the Williston, N.D., fields and, if true, they will need 100 years of silica sand, much from Goodhue County and neighboring counties.
If they are allowed to dig these mines, they will have as much a right to water as anyone else. They will push to the front of the line because of their power, money and influence.
This letter is not a scare tactic or based upon an unfounded rumor. It is the future, unless you do something about it. Now.
Call Sen. Matt Schmit, 651 -236-4264, Rep. Tim Kelly 3651-85-0623, and your County Board member. Tell them no silica sand mines in Goodhue County. Not ever.
Richard W. Johnson