Off the Mayor’s Desk – 5-1-2013

At our April 18th City Council meeting, as I listened to the folks assembled discuss the pros and cons of a new Non-Metallic Mining Ordinance, this thought occurred to me …. almost every single person in attendance had driven a motor vehicle to get there and return home. Many drove gas-guzzling SUV’s or 4-wheel drive pickup trucks. A few earned their living by fixing/repairing motor vehicles. One couple earned their living, in part, by selling gas and oil at their restaurant/convenience store. Also, I’m pretty certain that most folks heated their homes with natural gas, propane, fuel oil or electricity generated by gas, oil or coal. Every single person in attendance was a consumer of petroleum products.

 Apparently it’s perfectly okay to consume massive amounts of gas and oil. It’s okay to earn your living by fixing/repairing motor vehicles that consume gas and oil. And yes, it’s even okay to earn your living by selling gas and oil …. as long as that gas and oil is produced six states away or better yet is imported from another country. It’s okay as long as we don’t have to see the oil wells or deal with any truck traffic, dust, noise, etc. caused by the production of gas and oil. Let somebody else deal with all that, but not me.

We can continue importing vast amounts of gas and oil from the Mideast. We can continue exporting our young men and women to intervene in every conflict across the world to protect our access to this foreign oil.

Or, we can responsibly develop our domestic gas and oil resources. Technological advances such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have unlocked vast new supplies of shale gas and oil which were previously inaccessible. Many experts are predicting that before this decade is over the U.S. will go from being the largest importer of gas and oil to a major exporter!

Yes, our nation has the capacity to become energy independent in less than 10 years! And Wisconsin’s frac sand is an integral part of this entire process. Wisconsin’s sand is needed for the hydraulic fracturing process in the shale oil fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Louisiana, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming.

All development brings with it some challenges. The proposed frac sand mine in Glenwood City will be no different. But, with proper oversight it can be done responsibly and will most certainly boost the local economy – generating royalty payments to property owners, provide tax revenues to local governments and create much-needed local jobs!