New Study from The Heartland Institute Addresses the Social Impacts of Frac Sand Mining

Published February 17, 2016

The “social” impacts of sand-mining operations, including their impact on land use, scenic beauty, and property values, can be a sensitive topic. Emotion and opinion, rather than technical facts and scientific data, tend to dominate the discussion.

Heartland Institute Research Fellow Isaac Orr and Mark Krumenacher, a senior principal and senior vice president of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc., take the sensitive nature of this topic seriously and address it thoughtfully in their new Heartland Policy Study, the fourth in a series addressing frac sand mining topics. The first three, released in 2015, addressed the environmental impactseconomic impacts, and roadway impacts of frac sand mining.

To schedule an interview with the authors, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

About the Policy Study

Orr and Krumenacher briefly discuss the importance of mining and raw materials in our lives and explore concerns commonly expressed about mining as an industry. They describe four ways local elected officials can understand the emotional reactions a community might have to a proposed new development – mental noise, perception of threats, elements of trust, and dominance of negatives – all of which can make it difficult for individuals to examine an issue rationally and can cause them to become unnecessarily concerned.

The Policy Study specifically addresses the potential impact of industrial sand-mining operations on quality of life, tourism, scenic beauty, and property rights. Orr and Krumenacher conclude, “Although opponents of mining often cite the potential impacts of sand mining on property values as a reason to restrict or ban mining operations, this Policy Study concludes many mining companies are already addressing these concerns with local officials, who have adequate tools at their disposal to manage the impact of sand mining on their communities.”

About the Authors

Isaac Orr is a research fellow for energy and environment policy at The Heartland Institute. Orr is a speaker, researcher, and writer specializing in hydraulic fracturing, frac sand mining, agricultural, and environmental policy issues.

Mark Krumenacher is a senior principal and senior vice president of GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. and works in its Waukesha, Wisconsin office. He has served as principal, project manager, and project hydrogeologist during the past 27 years with GZA on environmental, geologic, hydrogeologic, and engineering projects throughout North America.

The Heartland Institute is a 32-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.