Science Supports No/Low Frac Danger?

November 24, 2014

Dear Mr. Jon Denk,

An article labeled “Science supports no/low danger” was published in the Reedsburg Times-Press on November 21, 2014. I have many issues with this article and list just a few below:

The content of this article has been put forth by many frac-sand companies and those working for them several times in the past several years. This is not an original work by Mr. Orr.
Mr. Orr’s education and experience does not qualify him to pass himself off as an expert on frac-sand mining, and even less on air and water pollution.
“The Heartland Institute” has been classified as a radical-rightwing business organization by many that have studied it. This institute is supported by many powerful businesses with little regard for human life or the natural environment.
Dr. John Richards was being paid thousands of dollars by EOG to do the research. Does anyone believe that he would come up with results that didn’t favor the outcome that EOG wanted?
Many researchers have studied silica dust from the mid 1930s to the present. These studies supported the passage of the “Clean Air Act” of 1963, and by 1974 OSHA was requiring that “Personal Protection Equipment” (PPE) be issued to anyone exposed to silica dust. These actions were taken because of the many connections found between silica dust and silicosis or cancer.
Using Minnesota test results to say that sand mining in Wisconsin does not exceed the standards is ridiculous. The Minnesota DNR insists on enforcing their strict regulations, whereas the Wisconsin DNR does little or no monitoring of their (now) very weak regulations. This results in sand companies ignoring almost all regulations.

I request that you require a higher level of scientific support and higher quality of authorship in the future. My background in silica dust began in 1966 with my Master’s Theses on the floatation and flocculation of “industrial sand” (frac-sand). After 50 years of dealing first hand with silica dust, I feel I am qualified to discuss silica dust and its negative attributes. I also feel that some “opponent” should have a right to rebut this article that is mostly misinforming propaganda.


James J. Drost
BS, MS Mining and Metallurgical Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Tel. 651-426-2779

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