"Fracking" technology has sparked a huge boom in oil exploration and drilling in the U.S. North Dakota, for example, is experiencing an oil boom that makes it one of the few spots in the nation where unemployment is practically nil, where population is growing and cities are hard pressed to deal with sudden expansion.
The boom has also sparked an increase in mining the silica sand that is essential for the fracking process. Southeast Minnesota is the target for a mining boom as companies rush to extract the sand that lies so near the surface of the earth there.
People who live in the region, though, are concerned about this boom. What effect will frac sand mining have on their land, on their air quality, on their roads and rail lines?
It is certainly time for the state to conduct a study on the issue, to determine what will be allowable mining practices, and what rules need to be in place to protect those who will live through the mining and its aftermath.
The state should undertake this study quickly and do a thorough, yet expeditious job of it.
Mining is important to the state, and so are Minnesota's natural resources. We can't afford risk the latter in a rush to feed the oil boom.