Dr. Steven Deller will present “Frac Sand Mining: Economic Impacts” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, at the Waupaca Area Public Library.
Hosted by Winchester Academy, the program on frac sand mining in response to numerous requests. It is the first program of the Winchester Academy’s 2014 Fall Series.
Deller is professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2012, as part of the moratorium resolution on frac sand mining in Buffalo County, Deller and a colleague studied the economic impacts of sand mining there.
The controversial drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing called “fracking” is creating a boom in Wisconsin sand mines with many new mines proposed, including some as large as 500 acres or more. While the mines bring jobs, they also bring dust, traffic, and other problems the state DNR and local governments are not always prepared to deal with.
According to USA Today, “The rolling hills and scenic bluffs of western Wisconsin … hide a valuable resource that has sparked what’s been called a modern-day gold rush,” according to a report in USA Today. “Mining companies say the work provides good jobs in rural areas, but some residents fear the increase in mining could harm human health and the environment.”
The guiding principal of Deller’s research is to “help people make more informed decisions.” This includes original research to provide “the information to facilitate the educational and decision-making processes.”
In his research on the economic aspects of hydraulic fracturing and sand mining, Deller focused on several issues: Are mining operations consistent with other sources of economic activity within the region? Is the public infrastructure sufficient to support the mining operations? Is there a sufficient pool of labor to meet the needs of the mining operations and replace workers who transfer in to the mining industry? Are post-mine plans in place and being acted upon? Is the community learning from the experiences of other communities that have experienced this type of development?
Dr. Deller received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Western Illinois University and both his master’s degree in economics and his doctorate in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has researched and published extensively in the field of sand mining and its economic impact on communities.
Because the issue of sand mining is so complex, Winchester Academy has scheduled three programs with speakers who have been involved with or studied hydraulic fracturing in western Wisconsin. Deller is the first of the three programs.
In spring 2015, Dr. Crispin Pierce, associate professor of environmental health at UW-Eau Claire, will speak about air quality. He and his students have sampled the air around working sand mines and processing facilities in Chippewa County.
Early in fall 2015, Dan Masterpole, department director, Chippewa County Land Conservation and Forest Management, will speak on water management and reclamation at mining sites.
Winchester programs are free and open to the public. Coffee and cookies are served beginning at 6 p.m. The program begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.
Programs are funded through sponsors, gifts, and tax-deductible donation. Deller’s program is sponsored by T-Dubs Public House of Waupaca.
For more information about Winchester Academy and the fall 2014 series, check winchesteracademywaupaca.org or contact Executive Director Ann Buerger Linden at 715-258-2828 or firstname.lastname@example.org.