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Fracking in Minnesota

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Fracking in Minnesota
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Fossil fuels present None[1]
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Fracking in Minnesota depends on available energy resources, the location of these resources, applicable laws and regulations, politics, and the power of environmental and industry groups. Decisions by policymakers and citizens, including state and local governments and ballot initiatives, affect if and how fracking occurs in a state. Minnesota has no oil or natural gas reserves, and as such there is no fracking occurring in the state. The state does support frac sand mining.

Fracking background

See also: Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand, but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure to fracture shale rocks and release the oil and natural gas inside.

Recent technological advances in oil and gas drilling--horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing--have created a wealth of opportunities and challenges for states with fossil fuel reserves that can be accessed through the combination of these two technologies. The increased use of fracking has been an economic boon for many states, not only those with fracking, but also those with supporting industries, such as frac sand mining or associated machinery manufacturing.

Opponents of fracking argue that the potential negative environmental and human health impacts could be significant. Although wells have been fracked for over 65 years in the United States, concerns have been raised about whether federal, state and local regulatory agencies can keep up with the recent rapid increase in fracking activity, and adequately protect the environment and human health. As with any type of energy extraction, either traditional or renewable, there are economic, environmental and political trade-offs.

Frac sand mining

Although fracking does not occur in Minnesota due to the lack of fossil fuel reserves, the state is rich in silica sand, which can be used as frac sand in the fracking process. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there are five silica sand mines in the state used for industrial purposes (along with an unknown number of mines used for agricultural and construction purposes). According to Minnesota Public Radio, some municipalities have enacted moratoria on frac sand mining in their communities pending further study on the practice.[2][3]

Natural gas use in Minnesota

For more information on energy consumption in Minnesota, see "Energy policy in Minnesota"

About 25 percent of the energy consumed in the state goes to transportation. The residential sector consumes just above 21 percent of that total. Commercial needs account for 18 percent of the state’s energy consumption. Industry consumes the most: 35 percent of the state’s total consumption. Industry is also the state’s largest consumer of natural gas, using more than one-third of the state’s total natural gas consumption.[1]

Consumption of energy for heating homes in Minnesota
Source Minnesota 2011 U.S. average 2011
Natural gas 66.7% 49.5%
Fuel oil 2.9% 6.5%
Electricity 16% 35.4%
Liquid Petroleum Gases (LPG) 10% 5%
Other/none 4.4% 3.6%

Where electricity comes from in Minnesota[4]
Type Amount generated (MWh) % of state** % of U.S.**
Petroleum-fired 4 0.1% 0%
Natural gas-fired 356 8.73% 0%
Coal-fired 1,980 48.54% 0%
Nuclear 835 20.47% 0%
Other renewables 843 20.67% 0%
Total net electricity generation 4,079 100% 0%
**Note: Because the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not include all of a state's energy production in these figures, the EIA totals do not equal 100 percent. Instead, we have generated our own percentages.

News items

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See also

External links