The methane gas industry is snapping up land across the United States, and it's not only regions with gas reserves its after. Part of the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," which has become big business in the nation, requires a fine silica sand. The sand is most easily accessible in the state of Wisconsin, which means the industry is looking to scrape the Midwestern state of it's rolling hills by extracting its sand. This new scramble for sand mining has local residents concerned about the health and environmental impacts on their communities.
The industry of sand mining is booming along with the national increase in "natural" gas drilling. The industry is touting methane gas as a "bridge fuel" to wean the nation of its petroleum addiction, but the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing has citizens up in arms because the process leaks harmful toxins into the nation's water supplies -- and the overall process of methane gas drilling is just as dirty, if not dirtier, than using petroleum.