Julie Rosen trolls activists during frac sand hearing, says "they have to expect" misery [VIDEO]
Concerned about frac sand mining? Julie Rosen has a message for you: Nut up.
Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, believes life is hard -- especially if you're unlucky enough to live near a frac sand deposit.
During a hearing earlier this week about a proposed one-year moratorium on new frac sand mines in Minnesota, Rosen essentially told the assembled crowd -- made up mostly of moratorium supporters -- that they should suck it up and realize bad smells, air pollution, and shitty roads are just part of rural living. Her comments prompted incredulous chuckles and guffawing.
Here's a transcript of what Rosen said, followed by the raw video:
It just seems like every time there's an issue, and whether it's a transmission line coming through, now it's silica sand, or it's maybe some feedlot regulation -- this is agriculture. People live in agricultural land. They have to expect the smells, the dust, and the inconveniences, and their roads beat up because that is what happens.
Rosen may not be a fan of the moratorium, but the Senate Environment and Energy Committee ended up approving it with an 8-4 vote. It now advances to the Senate State and Local Government Committee.
An impressively thorough report published in April 2012 by EcoWatch explains why activists and residents in southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin communities nearby frac sand deposits are concerned:
The recent boom in hydrofracking for natural gas and oil has resulted in a little-reported side boom--a sand-rush in western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, where we just happen to have the nation's richest, most accessible supply of the high-quality silica sand required for fracking operations.
Unfortunately, most of that silica sand lies beneath our beautiful wooded hills and fertile farmland, and within agricultural and residential communities, all of which are now being ripped apart by sand mines interests eager to get at the riches below. This open pit mining is, in many respects, similar to the mountaintop removal going on in Appalachian coal country--except that here, it's hilltop and farm field removal. The net effect on our landscape, natural resources and communities is quickly becoming devastating. In the past few months, the sand rush has come to my own rural neighborhood in Dunn County, Wisconsin, which is about an hour east of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Like many residents in Dunn County, I'm concerned about the speed and intensity with which frac-sand mining interests are moving into our area. The proposals and applications for mines and related infrastructure are coming in so fast (our region has seen dozens just in the past few months), most small towns have been totally overwhelmed. Organizations trying to map and report all the activity literally cannot keep up with the incoming data.
Attend the presentations where these land prospectors and mining-company reps make their case, and you'll hear a lot of vague reassurances. They say that the traffic, noise, water impacts, air pollution and carcinogenic silica-sand dust "won't be a problem." They'll be "good neighbors," they say, and leave everything better than it was before. The open-pit mines will eventually be "reclaimed," they say, and in the meantime, the development will spur job growth and other economic boons.
Those of us who have been researching the industry and looking at similar developments in communities where this activity is underway see plenty of reason to doubt those reassurances. We also question whether this glut of mining-related activity could wind up squelching the kind of economic development that would do our area a lot more good over the long haul.
During this week's Senate hearing, Jason George, a member of a union representing heavy equipment operators and a frac sand mining supporter, argued that the proposed moratorium could cost jobs.
"How many jobs in Wisconsin are going to be created before we let our people here compete?" George said, according to MPR. "I just don't believe this is the best way to go forward in the interest of job creation."
No offense, Jason, but as a general rule of thumb, we'd suggest aspiring to be more like Wisconsin isn't the way to go.
-- h/t: Bluestem Prairie --
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