B: Pawlenty Hooks Up With Fracking Supply Firm

Former Minnesota governor and also-ran GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty has scored another corporate gig.  This one's of a particularly odious sort.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has joined the board of directors of Smart Sand, a Pennsylvania company that is building a large frac sand plant in Oakdale, Wis.

The plant expects to process more than 1 million tons of sand annually when it begins operating later this month. The special silica sand, sought for its uniform size, strength and round shape, will be supplied to hydraulic fracturing operations elsewhere in the nation, where it's pumped with water and chemicals at high pressures deep into the ground to extract natural gas and oil from rock.

Frac sand mining is happening in Minnesota, too.  Check this out.

Last summer, Bluestem was critical of the Star Tribune's unrelentingly boosterish reporting of what it dubbed "the new gold rush" of frac sand mining in southeastern Minnesota's bluff country. For many residents of the area, comparing the move to strip the bluffs and fields of green, dig up and process silica sand, then haul it away to distant shale oil and gas fields to a "gold rush" isn't a strong analogy.

It's not a gold rush. It's fool's gold.

Here's a primer about the methods and environmental consequences of fracking itself.

Timmy won't be out in the field working a backhoe, of course;  his purpose will be to convince lawmakers not to regulate, much less ban, fracking.  He'll presumably have a lot more time for that, after Mitt Romney, in whose campaign Pawlenty is currently a key figure, is soundly defeated in November. As the environmental consequences - including, in all likelihood, contaminated tap water - become more manifest, we'll see how that all works out.

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