Frac sand is an alluvial proppant which is utilized to fracture rock for the extraction of oil and gas
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the controversial practice of extracting fossil fuels from hard-to-reach shale deposits. In this process, fossil fuel corporations force these underground shale rock formations to crack and split open by blasting them with a mixture of highly pressurized water, high quality sands, and toxic substances, unleashing massive quantities of natural gas and oil. The sand helps to prop these fissures open so the fossil fuels can be released and captured. As a result, waste material often seeps into groundwater, or is collected and then injected back into the ground using waste disposal wells. While not a new development, the amount of fracking has dramatically accelerated in recent years.
This process pollutes our air and water and can even lead to induced earthquakes and flammable tap water (check out this video of a woman taking a match to her kitchen faucet). It also unleashes methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere — contributing to climate change and reinforcing our dependence on fossil fuels, delaying the urgently necessary transition to renewable energy sources. Luckily, Wisconsin doesn’t have any known natural gas deposits, so we have been spared from the immediate harms of fracking. But our state does have an indirect — yet important — connection to this destructive industry.