Iowa Policy Project’s Frac Sand Mine Report Uses CAFO Case-Studies As Warning, Call For Local Control

Iowa Policy Project Releases Study Calling for Retention of Local Control over Frac Sand Mining 

Report points to factory farms as an example of what goes wrong when the state preempts local control 

Today, the Iowa Policy Project released a report (found here) outlining the negative effects of the controversial practice of frac sand mining, and recommending that authority over the industry be kept at the local level. Pointing to Iowa’s factory farm industry as a case study of the problems that arise when local control of environmentally degrading industries is preempted by state government, the report offers a number of policy proposals, the foremost of which is the retention of local control over the industry.

Frac sand mining, which has recently appeared in Iowa’s northeast corner, is the mining of silica sand for use in the process of fracking. Like factory farming, frac sand mining has met with community resistance for both environmental and quality-of-life reasons, from degrading water quality and quantity to destruction of the beautiful landscape that is the basis of northeast Iowa’s tourism industry.

“We need local control over frac sand mines, and we need local control over factory farms,” said Brenda Brink, an Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund member from Huxley. “Local people should have a say in whether these industries, which damage our natural resources and quality of life, can come into our communities.”

“This report is a call to action for our lawmakers to strengthen local democracy and keep corporate pollution out of our waters,” said Brink.

Although two bills relating to frac sand mining have been introduced in the Iowa House (HF 2028 and HF 2029), neither bill guarantees local control of frac sand mining.

Without local control of factory farms, the number of facilities in the state has ballooned to over 8,000. Iowa’s factory farms produce over five billion gallons of manure annually, which is spread on fields with minimal oversight. This explosion of the industry has led to 800 manure spills in the last twenty years, a major contribution to Iowa’s 630 polluted waterways.

Iowa Policy Project’s full report is at http://www.iowapolicyproject.org/2014docs/140130-fracsand.pdf;

Their executive summary is at http://www.iowapolicyproject.org/2014Research/140130-fracsand-xs.html.

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