Fracking recently received the approval of the National Research Council which drove the left nuts.
8/18/12, "Oil boom gives railroads new life," Minneapolis Star Tribune, Adam Belz
"Trains are transporting sand for oil drilling from Wisconsin and Minnesota."
"Now Canadian National Railway is spending $35 million to rebuild the track. Why? Frac sand.
Voracious demand for the hard, round sand of Wisconsin and Minnesota has abruptly reversed a decades-long decline in the region's railroads. Stacks of fresh railroad ties sit in bundles along lines heading four directions from Cameron, a small town 90 miles northeast of the Twin Cities. Construction crews swarm over rail crossings at Weyerhaeuser and rebuild a century-old bridge over Eagle Creek just north of Chippewa Falls.
Hydraulic fracturing -- the oil drilling technique widely known as "fracking" -- has created a major new business for railroads, because each horizontal well requires between 3,000 and 10,000 tons of sand. Drillers in North Dakota and elsewhere need the sand -- together with water, chemicals and organic lubricants -- to break up shale thousands of feet underground that holds natural gas and oil.
The demand -- about 60 new sand mines are in the works in Wisconsin -- is reviving sleepy trade routes. Railroads are striking deals with a spate of new sand processing plants, bringing dormant rail lines back into service, upgrading tracks and building rail yards and loading facilities across the Upper Midwest.
That has helped small-town industry that depends on freight trains, helping preserve jobs and clearing the way for industrial development. If sand mining takes off in southeast Minnesota the way it has in Wisconsin -- something many citizens and conservationists would rather avoid -- the result will be the same.
"Anything to bring people around the area is good," said Don Szozda, who owns Barney's Meats in Weyerhaeuser, Wis., and whose father-in-law was the last rail dispatcher in the town. "It'll be interesting to have a train coming through here again."
All the major railroads are expanding across the region to accommodate sand in one way or another.
In two years, Union Pacific recorded a 265 percent increase in frac sand shipments. The railroad has rebuilt interchanges in Wisconsin, lengthened track at a Mankato rail yard and will lengthen another track this year. The company built a side track at Bricelyn, Minn., lengthened several tracks at a rail yard in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and is considering four more yard improvements in Wisconsin and Iowa.
Over the past six months, Canadian Pacific has struck deals with new sand-processing plants in Tunnel City, Oakdale and Sparta, Wis. The company is building a facility in Makoti, N.D., where sand will be loaded on trucks and driven to wells in the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota.
Unless energy companies figure out a less expensive way to get oil and gas out of the ground, they're going to need sand from Wisconsin and Minnesota, said Jean-Jacques Ruest, chief marketing officer for Canadian National. He expects railroads to be busy in western Wisconsin for 10 years, probably 20, maybe 30."...via Free Republic
6/15/12, "Report: Don't worry much about quakes and 'fracking',"AP, Seth Borenstein
National Research Council reports carbon capture is high risk, fracking is not:
"Using hydraulic fracturing to get trapped gas doesn’t pose a “high risk,” the report found."
6/15/12, "Fighting Climate Change With Carbon Capture May Cause Quakes," Bloomberg, J. Efstathiou, Jr.
"Burying carbon dioxide in the ground, considered a promising way to combat climate change, may increase the risk of earthquakes, according to a report... Using hydraulic fracturing to get trapped gas doesn’t pose a “high risk,” the report found."...