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Frac sand mining research interests lieutenant governor

October 23, 2015

University of Wisconsin-River Falls Associate Professor of Soil Science and Geology Holly Dolliver is working to evaluate the environmental impact of frac sand mining. Her work drew the attention of Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who is touring several frac mining sites in Chippewa and Barron counties.

Dolliver is conducting a five-year research project in Chippewa County on the environmental impacts of frac sand mining. Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as frac sand mining, is the use of high pressure water to break open underground geologic formations, typically shale, that contain oil and gas. After the shale is fractured, frac sand is used to prop the fractures open to allow for oil and gas extraction. Dolliver’s work focuses on how to best reclaim land used for frac sand mining in central Wisconsin.

During Kleefisch’s visit, Dolliver talked about the importance of soils and stressed the value of science and scientific research. Dolliver and Kleefisch discussed the unique nature of the frac sand mining research and the need for sophisticated resources and equipment. One of Dolliver’s student interns, Emily Sorenson, also attended the event and shared details of her intern experience with Kleefisch.

Dolliver said Kleefisch “seemed surprised and impressed that this magnitude of cutting edge research was being undertaken by UW-River Falls. She was especially impressed with the nature of the partnerships that have formed through this project between the university, local government, and private industry.”

For more information, email holly.dolliver@uwrf.edu or call 715-425-3395.