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Failure Magazine: When the Hills Are Gone

By Jason Zasky
Failure Magazine

When the Hills Are Gone (Thomas Pearson)One of the few parts of the country that has been jolted by the growth in so-called frac sand mining is western Wisconsin, which is blessed with an abundance of high quality silica sand. Not unlike northeastern Pennsylvania’s experience with fracking, frac sand mining has brought extraordinary wealth to a lucky few, while disturbing the lives of many others, who fret about the noise pollution, the impact on air and water quality, and harm to Wisconsin’s tourism industry.

In the book “When the Hills Are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community” (University of Minnesota Press), University of Wisconsin-Stout professor Thomas W. Pearson conveys how people’s lives have been impacted by the industry. “Wisconsin’s hills are being removed, shipped around the country, and reinserted deep into the earth, once speck of sand at a time,” writes Pearson in the book, noting that the sand is shipped by truck or rail to the likes of Pennsylvania, Texas, and North Dakota, where thousands of tons are injected (along with millions of gallons of water) into fracked wells.

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When the Hills Are Gone