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Wisconsin DOJ reaches settlement with frac-sand mining firm

A pile of frac sand
A pile of frac sand

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - For the third time in a month, the state Justice Department has reached a settlement in a case against a frac-sand mining operation.  

The attorney general's office said Monday that the Tiller Corporation and Interstate Energy Partners agreed to pay $80,000. That was after sediments from a mine near Grantsburg in Burnett County got into a wetland and a creek, and eventually flowed into the St. Croix River.  

Somebody complained about the spill in late April of 2012. Both companies are from the Twin Cities area in Minnesota.  

Last month, settlements were reached for alleged pollution violations against frac-sand operations in Marshfield and Blair. About 115 frac-sand mines have cropped up in Wisconsin in recent years, providing fine sand for domestic oil drilling equipment.  

Supporters say the mines help the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil, but opponents cite numerous pollution concerns -- and they previously accused the state of being slow to prosecute violators.  

The DNR has referred six frac-sand pollution cases to the Justice Department for prosecution. Three of those referrals came since last August.  

As of last summer, 19 companies received pollution violation notices from the DNR.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)

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