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Frac Sand Mines Are Preferentially Sited in Unzoned Rural Areas.

Locke C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Shifting markets can cause unexpected, stochastic changes in rural landscapes that may take local communities by surprise.Frac sand mining gained prominence in the 2000s in the upper midwestern United States where nonmetallic mining is regulated primarily by local zoning.Rural communities can use the case of frac sand mining as motivation to discuss and plan for sudden land-use predicaments, rather than wait to grapple with unfamiliar legal processes during a period of intense conflict.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Shifting markets can cause unexpected, stochastic changes in rural landscapes that may take local communities by surprise. Preferential siting of new industrial facilities in poor areas or in areas with few regulatory restrictions can have implications for environmental sustainability, human health, and social justice. This study focuses on frac sand mining-the mining of high-quality silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing processes for gas and oil extraction. Frac sand mining gained prominence in the 2000s in the upper midwestern United States where nonmetallic mining is regulated primarily by local zoning. I asked whether frac sand mines were more commonly sited in rural townships without formal zoning regulations or planning processes than in those that undertook zoning and planning before the frac sand boom. I also asked if mine prevalence was correlated with socioeconomic differences across townships. After creating a probability surface to map areas most suitable for frac sand mine occurrence, I developed neutral landscape models from which to compare actual mine distributions in zoned and unzoned areas at three different spatial extents. Mines were significantly clustered in unzoned jurisdictions at the statewide level and in 7 of the 8 counties with at least three frac sand mines and some unzoned land. Subsequent regression analyses showed mine prevalence to be uncorrelated with land value, tax rate, or per capita income, but correlated with remoteness and zoning. The predicted mine count in unzoned townships was over two times higher than that in zoned townships. However, the county with the most mines by far was under a county zoning ordinance, perhaps indicating industry preferences for locations with clear, homogenous rules over patchwork regulation. Rural communities can use the case of frac sand mining as motivation to discuss and plan for sudden land-use predicaments, rather than wait to grapple with unfamiliar legal processes during a period of intense conflict.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Map of silica sand deposits and probability of frac sand mine occurrence in Wisconsin, USA.Probabilities were calculated using Maxent software [57] based on depth to sand, distance to major roads and rail lines, and land cover type. County boundaries and public lands are shown only for counties containing silica sand.
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pone.0131386.g002: Map of silica sand deposits and probability of frac sand mine occurrence in Wisconsin, USA.Probabilities were calculated using Maxent software [57] based on depth to sand, distance to major roads and rail lines, and land cover type. County boundaries and public lands are shown only for counties containing silica sand.

Mentions: I mapped 102 locations for all known frac sand mines in Wisconsin permitted, in development, or operational as of October 2013 (Fig 2, S1 Table). One mine was a spatial outlier and was excluded from spatial analyses. This mine was sited at a pre-existing gravel pit and was the only mine located beyond the boundary of quartzite sand deposits according to state geological data [54]. I compiled location information of frac sand mining activity from two databases, one compiled by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism [55] and the other by the West Central Regional Planning Commission in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Mississippi Regional Planning Commission [56]. Both these efforts involved information gathered from county staff and other local and state resources. I checked mine locations listed in these databases against the most recent satellite images provided by Google Earth. Dates for these images ranged from 2009 to 2013. In cases where the mines were newer than the newest image date, and in all cases where mines were permitted but not yet in development, I plotted locations at least as precise as municipality, and in most cases as precise as a street address (both were often available in the above sources).


Frac Sand Mines Are Preferentially Sited in Unzoned Rural Areas.

Locke C - PLoS ONE (2015)

Map of silica sand deposits and probability of frac sand mine occurrence in Wisconsin, USA.Probabilities were calculated using Maxent software [57] based on depth to sand, distance to major roads and rail lines, and land cover type. County boundaries and public lands are shown only for counties containing silica sand.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4489872&req=5

pone.0131386.g002: Map of silica sand deposits and probability of frac sand mine occurrence in Wisconsin, USA.Probabilities were calculated using Maxent software [57] based on depth to sand, distance to major roads and rail lines, and land cover type. County boundaries and public lands are shown only for counties containing silica sand.
Mentions: I mapped 102 locations for all known frac sand mines in Wisconsin permitted, in development, or operational as of October 2013 (Fig 2, S1 Table). One mine was a spatial outlier and was excluded from spatial analyses. This mine was sited at a pre-existing gravel pit and was the only mine located beyond the boundary of quartzite sand deposits according to state geological data [54]. I compiled location information of frac sand mining activity from two databases, one compiled by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism [55] and the other by the West Central Regional Planning Commission in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the Mississippi Regional Planning Commission [56]. Both these efforts involved information gathered from county staff and other local and state resources. I checked mine locations listed in these databases against the most recent satellite images provided by Google Earth. Dates for these images ranged from 2009 to 2013. In cases where the mines were newer than the newest image date, and in all cases where mines were permitted but not yet in development, I plotted locations at least as precise as municipality, and in most cases as precise as a street address (both were often available in the above sources).

Bottom Line: Shifting markets can cause unexpected, stochastic changes in rural landscapes that may take local communities by surprise.Frac sand mining gained prominence in the 2000s in the upper midwestern United States where nonmetallic mining is regulated primarily by local zoning.Rural communities can use the case of frac sand mining as motivation to discuss and plan for sudden land-use predicaments, rather than wait to grapple with unfamiliar legal processes during a period of intense conflict.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Shifting markets can cause unexpected, stochastic changes in rural landscapes that may take local communities by surprise. Preferential siting of new industrial facilities in poor areas or in areas with few regulatory restrictions can have implications for environmental sustainability, human health, and social justice. This study focuses on frac sand mining-the mining of high-quality silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing processes for gas and oil extraction. Frac sand mining gained prominence in the 2000s in the upper midwestern United States where nonmetallic mining is regulated primarily by local zoning. I asked whether frac sand mines were more commonly sited in rural townships without formal zoning regulations or planning processes than in those that undertook zoning and planning before the frac sand boom. I also asked if mine prevalence was correlated with socioeconomic differences across townships. After creating a probability surface to map areas most suitable for frac sand mine occurrence, I developed neutral landscape models from which to compare actual mine distributions in zoned and unzoned areas at three different spatial extents. Mines were significantly clustered in unzoned jurisdictions at the statewide level and in 7 of the 8 counties with at least three frac sand mines and some unzoned land. Subsequent regression analyses showed mine prevalence to be uncorrelated with land value, tax rate, or per capita income, but correlated with remoteness and zoning. The predicted mine count in unzoned townships was over two times higher than that in zoned townships. However, the county with the most mines by far was under a county zoning ordinance, perhaps indicating industry preferences for locations with clear, homogenous rules over patchwork regulation. Rural communities can use the case of frac sand mining as motivation to discuss and plan for sudden land-use predicaments, rather than wait to grapple with unfamiliar legal processes during a period of intense conflict.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus