Western Wisconsin counties bordering the Mississippi River have a unique geography: steep bluffs with layers and layers of silica sand. The sand is extremely valuable because it's strong enough to prop open underground veins in shale fields so oil and natural gas can be released. It's called "frac sand," and Wisconsin appears to have more of it than any other state. But the hills are private property, so sand mining companies have to negotiate with local farmers — not all of whom are on board.
Rifts Emerge Amid 'Frac Sand' Rush In Wisconsin
News & Features Laurie Stern · NPR ·