Saturday, July 20, 2013

In Her Mind, WI DNR's Cathy Stepp 'Thinks Certain Visuals,' Misses Others

In an interview with the Waukesha Freeman published Saturday, Stepp said this about frac sand mining, which is exploding in Wisconsin - - without any modern-day regulation:

“When people hear the word ‘mining,’ they start to think certain visuals in their mind,” she said. “That’s probably one where I see a lot of nervousness there where it’s nothing new, it’s just that people are all of a sudden paying attention that there’s sand coming out of the ground.” 
Ah, nothing new. Like the way iron ore would just come out of the ground.

Nothing to worry about. Just "sand coming out of the ground." 

Or pouring out, illegally, for days last year into a scenic, important river shared by two states:
There's been a spill into the St. Croix River of sediment and sand from a mine in Northwest Wisconsin serving the booming energy fracking industry: 
Conservation officials first learned of the leak on April 22, when a hiker       reported seeing cream-colored water in a creek flowing to the St. Croix River.    DNR investigators used a plane to survey the area four days later. 
They traced the murky water back to a 72-acre sand mining facility operated by Maple Grove-based Tiller Corporation, where they located a leak in one of the facility's holding ponds. 
A Minnesota website posted a photo so you can think certain visuals in your mind:
A stream flowing into the St. Croix River near Grantsburg runs brown with sediment from a silica (frac) sand mine
Meanwhile, federal agencies have noted in a HAZARD ALERT the dangers of frac sand dust to workers (downwind residents, take note:
Large quantities of silica sand are used during hydraulic fracturing. Sand is delivered via truck and then loaded into sand movers, where it is subsequently transferred via conveyer belt and blended with other hydraulic fracturing fluids prior to high pressure injection into the drilling hole. Transporting, moving, and refilling silica sand into and through sand movers, along transfer belts, and into blender hoppers can release dusts containing silica into the air. Workers can be exposed if they breathe the dust into their lungs.
Something, as Stepp might say, that creates a certain visual in your mind:
Silica dust clouds from delivery trucks loading into sand movers Photo credit: NIOSH

Silica dust clouds from delivery trucks loading into sand movers.
                                         Photo credit: NIOSH

Prior to this, Stepp's worst remarks came shortly before her appointment by Scott Walker to lead the DNR:
....people who go to work for the DNR's land, waste, and water bureaus tend to be anti-development, anti-transportation, and pro-garter snakes, karner blue butterflies, etc...This is in their nature; their make-up and DNA. So, since they're unelected bureaucrats who have only their cubicle walls to bounce ideas off of, they tend to come up with some pretty outrageous stuff that those of us in the real world have to contend with.
Got that picture in your mind?


Brad Geyer said...

"I wanted someone with a chamber-of-commerce mentality."

Scott Walker on his appointment of Cathy Stepp as Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Paddy. Moran said...

Well done Mr. Rowen. PW?

Anonymous said...

Another great interview:

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that Walker has screwed up everything he has touched.