Frac Sand Weekly News 11/21/14

Frac Sand NewsCompromise was the operative word this week as a plan to commence hydrofracking operations in the East Coast’s largest national forest was met with unanimous approval while new hydrofracking legislation in Minnesota and North Carolina passed without contention. There are still factions on both sides of the hydrofracking debate that are unwilling to concede their respective point of view, but even a figure from the art world showed a willingness espouse the virtues of hydrofracking and accept it as an integral part of his nation’s economic stability.

Compromise is crucial in Approving New Fracking Site at GW National Forest
Hydrofracking is coming to the largest national forest in the eastern U.S., thanks to a federal compromise between environmentalists and fracking operators. The George Washington National Forest, half of which is resting on the Marcellus Shale formation, will now support hydrofracking operations on a precise section of 167,000 acres and prohibits any fracking activity near rivers that feed the Chesapeake Bay. Environmentalists and industrialists alike seemed pleased with the decision.

New Frac Sand Regulations Seem to Sit Well With One Minnesota City
If Winona, MN is any indication, the state’s new hydrofracking legislation is an overwhelming success. In a 5-1 vote, the Winona City Council approved a resolution to monitor air quality near new and established frac sand mines. The City Council expects the resolution to be met with similar approval throughout the state, since Winona has been Minnesota’s benchmark region for frac sand production and innovation.

North Carolina Panel Approves Fracking Regulations, Opening the Door for New Permits
After over a year of debate and thousands of public comments submitted in the form of petitions, the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission has finally ratified a list of hydrofracking rules that will govern the practice throughout the state. Commission Chairman Vikram Rao doesn’t expect the new rules will please everyone, but David McGowan of the North Carolina Petroleum Council supported the legislation by ensuring the public that the legislation will secure safe and responsible oil and natural gas exploration for the state.

Who’s Right about the Fracking Debate?
It doesn’t appear that the debate over hydrofracking will reach a compromise anytime soon. According to a study released by the Journal of Environmental Psychology and Vanderbilt University, extreme views on both side of the debate are being solidified by a belief that their respective information is more accurate and valid than the opposition’s, which fosters a feeling of superiority on either side. The study concluded that this shared attitude is moving both sides away from any kind of open and fair-minded dialogue.

A Voice from the Art World comes to the Aid of Hydrofracking
As a chorus of protest continues to swell from traditional left-leaning sectors, one voice from the art world has actually taken the side of hydrofracking, albeit for what many might consider cynical reasons. British artist David Hockney openly supports the U.K.’s hydrofracking industry, because he feels the industry is already an integral part of the national industrial makeup and would be too difficult to remove.

The Rise in Global Hydrofracking Creates a Bright Future for Proppant Manufacturers
The surge in global hydrofracking not only means big profits for oil and gas companies, but also new life for companies that manufacture ceramic proppants. In a new Reportlinker.com study, sales of synthetic and organic proppants are expected to steadily increase over the next decade. Most of the demand will be coming from the U.S., but an ever-growing list of hydrofracking nations will also contribute to an upward market trend.

Consumers Reaping Substantial Economic Rewards Compliments of the Hydrofracking Industry
It appears that the promise of economic rewards for the consumer was not just a political talking point for hydrofracking operators trying to gain public approval. According to a report released by the Institute for Energy Research, hydrofracking production in 2013 saved consumers between $63 billion and $248 billion. The study is proof that hydrofracking has had an instant and positive impact on the U.S. economy.

Chemicals Used in Fracking May Be as Harmless as Those in the Home
All the concerns over the chemical poisoning of fresh water supplies and the land surrounding hydrofracking operations may be premature, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder. The study concludes that many of the chemicals used in hydrofracking are no more hazardous than the household chemicals found in the cupboards under the average person’s kitchen sink.

Despite a Slump in Oil Prices, Fracking Suppliers Remain Optimistic
The steady demand for frac sand from the oil and gas industry seems to fly in the face of plunging oil prices and slumping market trends. Some industry experts believe that rising demand is a calculated risk on the part of oil producers who see hydrofracking soon becoming the primary source of crude in the United States.

Ohio Becomes a Laboratory for Testing Waterless Method of Hydrofracking
GasFrac Energy Services Inc. of Canada may be close in developing a waterless hydrofracking technique that would curtail the demand for fresh water. The company is experimenting in Ohio’s Utica Shale region with a gelled propane substance that would not only take the place of water used in the process, but also decrease the chance of groundwater contamination and create an overall cleaner fracking process.

Frac Sand Weekly News 11/14/14

Frac Sand NewsRules are made to be broken, or in the case of hydrofracking, revised. This week, both Illinois and North Carolina announced they are close to finalizing drafts on hydrofracking rules, while some parties in the United Kingdom are calling for a review and revision of rules that they deem too strict to promote any kind of profitable and equitable hydrofracking industry. Also this week, more headway was made toward making some aspects of hydrofracking safer, cleaner, and more self-sufficient.

Fracking is a Go in Illinois, but Lawmakers are Tight-Lipped over Regulations
Illinois lawmakers are confident that recently-passed legislation will usher in an era of safe and profitable hydraulic fracking for the state, but some residents are skeptical. Despite Illinois passing some of the toughest hydrofracking regulatory laws in the nation in 2013, environmental groups remain doubtful. One state environmental group spokesperson argues that the legislation was drafted and passed behind closed doors without any credible scientific input.

Illinois Landowners Losing Hope as Drafting Hydrofracking Rules Drags On
Many Illinois farmers who hoped to lease portions of their land for oil and gas exploration are losing hope that a new set of rules governing hydrofracking won’t be drafted before more companies scrap plans to drill. The group charged with creating a set of rules based on 2013 legislation has been working on a draft for more than a year, costing oil and gas companies millions in leasing fees without producing any tangible product. Though these companies have been assured that a final draft is imminent, many have already decided to cut their losses and move on to more lucrative ventures, leaving some Illinois landowners without an anticipated source of revenue.

New N.C. Hydrofracking Rules Nearing Ratification
Taking into account the many concerns expressed by North Carolina citizens over the state’s hydrofracking policies, the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission is finalizing a revised set of rules before bringing it to a vote later this week. The MEC believes they have come up with a set of rules that can both satisfy the more than 220,000 public comments and concerns received over past hydrofracking legislation, as well as allow for a profitable fracking industry.

One Supporter of Hydrofracking in Great Britain Say it’s Time to Do Away with the Rules
Some of the rules governing the hydrofracking industry in Great Britain are reactionary, paranoid, and detrimental to the national economy, says one proponent of the industry. Allister Heath, deputy editor at The Telegraph newspaper, remarked in an Op-Ed this week, that one rule in particular that supposedly protects against hydrofracking-related earthquakes is tantamount to enforcing a ban on slamming wooden doors. Heath thinks it’s time to reevaluate the limits the U.K. places on hydrofracking.

Glasgow Academics warn that Fracking Rules are too Strict
In a report published this week, Dr. Rob Westaway and Prof. Paul Younger of the University of Glasgow, cite current rules governing the practice of hydrofracking in the U.K. as being overly prohibitive and in need of revision. Both Dr. Westaway and Prof. Younger say that the risk of hydrofracking-related earthquakes has been greatly exaggerated, and both believe that similar rules that already govern quarry mining could easily be applied to hydrofracking.

Industry is close to answering the Remaining Concerns over Hydrofracking
Having addressed the fears over hydrofracking and its effect on fresh water sources, the industry is now confronting the problem of tremors. Injecting hydrofracking wastewater back into the ground is thought to have caused minor earthquakes along fault lines, and in some cases, substantial damage to private property. One solution being explored stands to address both the shifting earth and what to do with contaminated fracking water.

Texas Oil Industry Ready to Fight Fracking Ban
The Texas oil and natural gas industry has no intention of backing down to a recent hydrofracking ban in the city of Denton. Two lawsuits filed in Austin this week allege that the ban is unconstitutional and would effectively shut down any natural gas production in the area.

Expect more Investments in Frac-water Filtration in Light of Recent Reports
In the hydrofracking industry, the cost of doing business is leaning toward water treatment and repurposing, according to a new report released this week by Bluefield Research.  According to the report, wastewater treatment spending is expected to triple by 2020.

Sioux Creek Silica Announces Opening of New Wisconsin Frac Sand Mine Projected for 2015
One new mine, scheduled to open in 2015, is doing its part to reduce the kind of frac sand-driven truck traffic that is responsible for so much wear and tear on U.S. highways.  The new Sioux Creek Silica plant, slated for opening next summer in Barron County, WI, will feature a 4.7 mile conveyor system connected to a Union Pacific railroad spur, which will effectively eliminate all truck transport to and from the facility.

Major Purchase for Francis Drilling Fluids Designed to Help Meet Frac Sand Demands
Francis Drilling Fluids, the oldest and most productive drilling and frac sand distribution company along the Gulf Coast, announced this week that it will open multiple new distribution channels with the purchase of Permian Basin Sand Haulers. The deal promises to expand Francis Drilling Fluids’ distribution capacity by 500 rail cars and double its truck fleet.

New NYS Senator Pushing for Hydrofracking Legislation
The Republican majority in the New York State Senate has a message for the state’s Democratic Governor: “fracking is the answer!”  After last Tuesday’s mid-term election, which saw many states shift to right-leaning leadership, Dean Skelos and New York’s Republican majority Senate made it clear to Gov. Andrew Cuomo that New York is primed for this vibrant industry and the Senate intends to steer legislation in a pro-hydrofracking direction.

Northeast Ohio Put the Brakes on Hydrofracking Production in Response to Low Oil Demand
Northeast Ohio announced this week that it will slow down hydraulic fracturing production in response to plunging oil prices and decreased demand. The slow down will also give officials a chance to investigate the problem of earthquakes caused by fracking operations along the state’s fault lines.

Frac Sand Weekly News 11/7/14

Frac Sand NewsAre you ready for cleaner, safer hydrofracking? How about lower prices at the gas pumps? This week’s hydrofracking news points to the present reality of these two items of interest, not theories or pipe dreams. A former telecommunications industry innovator turns his attention toward the problem of contaminated hydrofracking wastewater, and a record surplus of domestically produced oil has led to steadily dropping prices at gas pumps across the nation.

British Researchers Close to Developing a Hydrofracking Early Warning System
Researchers and engineers at the University of Nottingham are in the final stages of developing a technology that would detect excessive stress along fault lines brought on by intense hydrofracking activity. The new technology combines software and satellite radar imaging to measure shifting points along fault lines. This breakthrough promises to greatly diminish incidents of fracking-related earthquakes.

Telecom Innovator Turns his Talents to Frac Water Recycling
John Webley is a real trend follower. Back in the early 2000s, when the telecommunications industry was experiencing unprecedented growth, it was John Webley, a so-called serial entrepreneur, who devoted his time and money toward giving this developing enterprise the support it needed as co-founder of Advanced Fiber Communications. Now, with hydrofracking becoming the new darling of American industry, Mr. Webley has tuned his attention and resourcefulness toward developing new wastewater filtering technologies that will make the process safer for the environment and help ensure a healthy future for this barnstorm enterprise.

Hydrofracking: The Force Driving Down Prices at the Pumps
It all seems to be true. Proponents of hydrofracking have been promising that their industry’s yield will ease the burden on imported oil, and thereby force down the price of a gallon of gas. Those who were comfortable with taking a wait-and-see approach to these claims should take a good look now as gas prices have been whittled down by an average of $0.94 across the nation. But those same proponents of the industry consider this only to be a first step toward what hydrofracking can do for the nation. These same industry leaders are now calling on the Federal government to take serious steps toward integrating hydrofracking into America’s core energy policies.

Federal Clean Power Initiative Could Open the Door for Wider Use of Hydrofracking
With more and more states weighing in on the risks hydrofracking may have to the environment, it was only a matter of time before the Federal government joined the debate. And if you think the feds are ramping up to put the brakes on America’s hottest new industry, think again. It was none other than the Environmental Protection Agency, the country’s watchdog for clean air and water that called the debate over hydrocarbons, dirty water, and greenhouse gas emissions an “opportunity to invigorate the U.S. energy sector.”

Canadian Proppant Manufacturer Keeps its Head Up While Stock Prices Plunge
While their product is considered in many ways to be superior to silica sand, the high cost of ceramic proppants compared to relatively dirt cheap sand has taken its toll on companies like Carbo Ceramics. But this innovative Canadian company is not about to stand by and watch its stock price plummet. Utilizing new technologies to improve product quality, Carbo is creating a synthetic proppant that some in the hydrofracking and other industries will find irresistible.

Stalled Oil Prices Hold No Bearing on U.S. Silica
A good number of companies are feeling the pinch of falling oil prices and stagnating demand, but don’t count U.S. Silica among them. With America’s hydrofracking industry striving to provide energy independence within the next two decades, U.S. Silica’s anchor product has never been more in demand. The numbers don’t lie. In one year, the average hydraulic fracturing operation has upped its use of frac sand by 5,500 tons. That kind of demand is enough to make U.S. Silica practically impervious to anything the oil-driven market has in store.

In a Tumultuous Marketplace, Hydrofracking is the Stabilizing Element in a Strong U.S. Economy
There was a time when strife in the Middle East fed by anti-American sentiments was a certain precursor to spiking oil prices and a strained U.S. economy. Those days may be gone forever. With ground being broken almost every day on new hydraulic fracturing mines in the U.S. and Canada, it seems as though the days of the West being beholden to the whims of a handful of temperamental Middle Eastern oil barons are fading into antiquity.

Houston Barge Company uses Hydrofracking to Stay Afloat
A Houston-based barge shipping company has run aground, and it’s a good thing for both the company and the hydrofracking industry. Kirby Corp., the largest tank barge operator in the U.S., has taken to manufacturing diesel engines for hydraulic fracturing pumps and has turned its financial fortunes around in a single year. Kirby reported year-to-date profits of $76.7 million in net earnings, up $7.6 million from Q3 of 2013.

Sale Secures Cement Manufacturer as a Major Frac Sand Producer
Profits at Eagle Materials have reached a record high, and there’s no telling when they’ll level off with the acquisition of a major proppant producer. Eagle Materials unveiled this week that it has entered into a purchasing agreement to buy CRS Proppants, LLC. The purchase will add to Eagle’s already lucrative collection of subsidiaries that brought in a record $284.8 million this past quarter.

Frac Sand Weekly News 10/31/14

Frac Sand NewsIt seems the hydraulic fracturing industry is taking to heart all the concerns over how production will effect the environment and quality of life. It also seems that this apparent safe fracking initiative is not limited to any one operation or hydrofracking nation. In Canada, hydrofracking industry leaders met with mayors to discuss how to keep the industry accountable for its actions, while lawmakers and industry leaders in South Africa discussed similar issues prior to launching a major hydrofracking campaign. In the U.S., a Federal study concluded that there is no hard evidence to confirm a connection between hydrofracking and environmental hazards, but new technology promises to fortify these findings by making the fracking process safer and more preemptive. Despite a few contentious events, this turned out to be a progressive week in the short, but eventful hydrofracking timeline.

New Hydrofracking Technology May be Much Easier on the Environment
Researchers at MIT and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals took another step toward an environmentally-friendly hydrofracking process. They have developed a method for filtering wastewater through multiple stages of electro dialysis, after which, the water could be reused in the hydrofracking process. This breakthrough could eliminate a hydrofracking operation’s need for fresh water beyond an initial supply, and it could also greatly diminish the amount of contaminated water being pumped back into the environment.

Fracking Industry Looks to High Tech Infrared Imaging to Curtail Greenhouse Gas Emissions
With much of the contention over hydrofracking revolving around methane leaks and other greenhouse gas emissions, the hydrofracking industries in both the United States and Europe are trying to get a better look at the problem. Industry leaders agree that infrared imaging is the best way to spot leaks underground so they can address them before they become a threat to the environment, and they are doing so with the help of the FLIR GF320. This infrared camera, designed for optical gas imaging, is sensitive enough to spot the tiniest hydrocarbon leak and rugged enough to work underground amidst the turmoil of the hydrofracking process. With this device, operations would not need to suspend hydrofracking in order to capture images in the deepest recesses of the well.

Accountable Hydrofracking Major Topic of Discussion at Canadian Mayor’s Partnership Meeting
Canadian mayors and the nation’s hydrofracking leaders got together this week to discuss the rewards and risks of hydrofracking at the first annual Mayors’ Partnership Meeting of the Northwest Environmental Business Council Resource Coalition. The topic of discussion included the evolution of the hydrofracking industry, maintaining effective industry standards and revising ineffective rules, re-purposing much of the waste byproduct caused by the process, and expanding the stages of hydrofracking to ease underground pressure that could damage the environment.

Manitoba Gives the Go-Ahead for Line Cutting and Sonic Drilling
The wait is over for Claim Post Resources, Inc., as the provincial government of Manitoba has awarded a work permit allowing the company to commence exploration at the Seymourville Frac Sand Project, 125 miles northeast of Manitoba. Claim Post Resources will begin excavation within the next two weeks as it intends to implement 19 miles of line cutting and drill 80 sonic drill holes. Claim Post Resources expects to extract around 25,000,000 tons of high grade silica sand from the site.

Jayjay Operation proving to be a Windfall for Rainmaker Resources
Saskatchewan is proving to be a hotbed for quality frac sand as Rainmaker Resources announced that it has received positive analytical results from phase 1 of testing on the Jayjay and Jayjay Frac Sand site in the north-central part of the province. The sand tested well in the areas of sphericity, roundness, acid solubility, and density. The company is now waiting for permits from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment before commencing a more extensive field testing plan.

New Federal Report Revitalizes California Hydrofracking Industry
There is little evidence to sustain the claim that hydraulic fracturing poses a threat to the environment, according to a report released by the Federal Bureau of Land Management. This is good news particularly for fracking operations looking to resume production on Federal land in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Work was stalled in this hydrocarbon-rich region pending a full and impartial investigation of the risks.

Hydrofracking’s Reach expected to expand into South Africa by Mid 2016
After much careful planning and regulatory debate, hydrofracking operations in South Africa’s Karoo region near Cape Town are expected to commence by mid 2016. The South African government and oil and gas companies have been extremely sensitive to the concerns of those living in this vast region, the largest fear being the contamination of an already sparse water supply. All parties involved feel the appropriate measures are being taken to ensure that quality of life can coincide with fracking production.

Illinois Delays Ruling on Proposed Fracking Rules
With Election Day looming, Illinois’s Committee on Administrative Rules made the politically cautious decision to push back the vote until November 6 on a series of proposed rules that will affect the entire state’s hydrofracking industry. If a vote is not cast on the 6th, the proposal will revert to the state’s Department of Natural Resources, which could further delay the creation of a state-wide regulatory plan.

Controversy Brews as Mining Ordinance Nears Approval
After months of debate and contention, it appears that Houston County, WI, is on the verge of ratifying a frac sand mining ordinance that many believe will be beneficial to both the county’s frac sand industry and its residents. County Commissioner Justin Zmyewski is relieved over the new legislation, saying that the county has been walking a fine line between the industry and the communities in which it operates. Not everyone is comfortable with the new ordinance, as one of the county’s fiercest frac sand opponents accused the new legislation of being “just fantasy.”

Ohio Chemical Manufacturer Leery over Hydrofracking Proposal
Not everyone in the industrial sector is pleased to see hydrofracking expand into untapped markets. This week, Atlanta-based Axiall Corp., a major chemical manufacturer operating near the Ohio River, objected to drilling proposed by Gastar Exploration, citing a disastrous incident that happened in 2013. Axiall fears that unregulated drilling will release copious amounts of natural gas into the Ohio River, as it did last year when Triad Hunter engaged in similar mining activities. Lawyers for Gastar refuted these concerns by announcing that the company has carefully planned its drilling campaign, and potential risks involved are insufficient to warrant a complete injunction.

Frac Sand Weekly News 10/24/14

Frac Sand NewsThis week, news from the world of frac sand mining takes a look at the industry’s position in the stock market. On Wall Street and in the portfolios of investors, frac sand stock has reenergized a slumping industrial sector and promises a future of consistent growth, despite market forces that have driven down the price of oil. While shares in one frac sand company are giving Apple a run for its money, Forbes magazine has ranked another frac sand supplier as the top small company in the United States, beating out some formidable competition from the high tech and healthcare industries.

In other news, Wisconsin regulators admit it was a case of mistaken identity when they levied permit violations against the wrong frac sand mining operation, and a renowned environmentalist says all the talk about the dangers of frac sand amounts to plenty of hype and very few facts. All told, it was a very rich week in the frac sand industry, in more ways than one.

Frac Sand Mines Proving to Be a Windfall Investment for Forward-Thinking Companies
Not long ago, U.S. Silica was a broken down silica sand mining operation that sold for almost $2 billion less than its estimated net worth. It seems the investment shop that purchased the struggling company stumbled upon a gold mine, as its core product expanded beyond mortar and grout, automobile parts, iPhone glass, and toothpaste, to become the most in-demand commodity in the market today.

Hi-Crush Partners Ranked Among the Top Three Smart Stock Picks
Move over high tech, Hi-Crush has established itself as one of the hottest large cap stocks in North America. It’s rare that Silicon Valley enterprises need to share the stage with an industrial sector company, but that was the case after a Triumph Asset Management report that placed Hi-Crush Partners at number two in a field of three hot stocks; just ahead of a company that develops motion tracking microchips and just behind Apple.

Projected Growth Places Hi-Crush Partners as a Long-Term Winner for Investors
Energy sector stocks, in general, have taken a beating in the market over the falling price of oil, but one remains resilient, according to one investment expert. Seeking Alpha’s Kurt Christensen believes that Hi-Crush Partners will survive a temporary dip in energy sector stock and emerge even stronger. “Hi-Crush is my preferred play in industry for a variety of reasons,” Says Christensen. “[They have shown] strong growth in revenues and net income –the Marcellus production being a major area for the company –and costs seem to be going down.” [They have also] recently announced long term contracts, and [are strong] compared to competition.”

Forbes Ranks U.S. Silica Holdings #1 in a Field of High Tech and Healthcare Companies
According to Forbes Magazine’s list of the top 100 up-and-coming small companies for 2014, U.S. Silica Holdings leads the pack, beating out contenders from the high tech and healthcare sectors. Each year, Forbes compiles this list of companies with sales under $1 billion and bases the rankings on return on equity, sales growth, and earnings growth over a five year period.

A Trio of Railroad Stocks Promise Healthy Returns on the Strength of Frac Sand Hauling
Freight railroad stock looked to be a risky bet a few years ago as the demand for coal declined and the Keystone Pipeline XL project encountered one delay after another. Then along came shale drilling and the demand for frac sand, and suddenly freight railroad stocks are an attractive item in the marketplace. There are three railroads, in particular, that investors should be keeping a close eye on.

Prolific Oil and Gas Production could be Putting Strain on the Frac Sand Supply
It’s a fact that using more frac sand will result in increased oil and gas production. This is the sole reason for the rising demand for frac sand, but with more and more companies entering the shale drilling field, a frac sand shortage is a distinct possibility. U.S. Silica hopes to meet future demand by expanding its frac sand exploration program into regions that are just now offering their untapped supplies to the highest bidders.

Wisconsin Regulators got it Wrong When Citing Permit Violations
Trempealeau County, WI mining regulators announced this week that they recently levied permit violations against the wrong frac sand operation. The county Department of Land Management issued a stop-work order to a Texas-based firm, when in fact, the violations were committed by a local Wisconsin company. The county blamed its mistake on faulty information.

Industry Expert says there is Plenty of Hype Fueling Frac Sand Scare
The media is rife with stories about the dangers of frac sand mining, but one environmentalist believes that it all amounts to an insubstantial scare tactic sans any hard scientific evidence. Isaac Orr, a research fellow at the Heartland Institute, believes that special interest groups are responsible for the hype, as they intentionally present one rather porous side of the frac sand story.

Frac Sand Weekly News 10/17/14

Frac Sand NewsOne of the greatest concerns over frac sand mining got a little closer to being resolved this week as a Minnesota county released its findings on what effect the process has on air quality, and the news was good for the industry. In other environmental news, NASA and the University of Michigan determined that an expansive methane hot spot hovering over the Southwest U.S. is not the result of hydrofracking activity, and a Canadian company discovered an innovative way to repurpose hydrofracking wastewater. All told, it seems the dialogue over the hydrofracking and frac sand mining industries is beginning to assume a more rational tone as communities from California to North Carolina are discovering that hydrofracking is much more manageable than first thought.

Frac Sand not a Threat to Winona Air Quality
Winona, MN residents can breathe a little easier as a published report released this week confirms that frac sand activity within the city limits poses no threat to air quality. This news comes on the heels of a similar report released last week by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that supports the same findings.

Hydrofracking Not Responsible for Methane Hot Spot over the Southwestern U.S.
Though many are quick to blame hydrofracking for a myriad environmental problems, a methane hotspot roughly the size of Connecticut over the Southwestern U.S. is more likely the result of coal emissions than hydrofracking, say experts from NASA and the University of Michigan. Hydrofracking critics are quick to attribute blame to this already maligned industry, but Eric Kort of the University of Michigan says that this hot spot started to form long before hydrofracking became a widespread practice.

Innovative Use of Fracking Water Discovered in Nova Scotia
With growing concern over contaminated fracking water seeping into fresh water supplies, the Provence of Nova Scotia may have found a solution. Tests revealed that treated hydrofracking wastewater used to cool the operation’s cement-making kiln produced the same amount of emissions as fresh water from a nearby lake.

Tougher Hydrofracking Regulations in California Spawn More Tough Questions about the State’s Readiness
Senate Bill 4, passed in 2013, implements a lot of tough new regulations on California’s hydrofracking industry, but this legislation may be creating more problems than it solves. As the state prepares to join the ranks of Texas and Oklahoma as a major provider of shale oil and gas, many industry experts are beginning to wonder if California has the tools and resources to successfully manage a fracking boom.

While Much of California is Tough on Hydrofracking, Kern County has a Different View
With all the controversy surrounding hydrofracking in California, it’s easy to mistake shale drilling as some new and unfamiliar enterprise. On closer inspection, hydrofracking has been going on in parts of California for over 40 years, and the residents of Kern County hope it continues for generations to come.

Newfoundland Panel Assembled to Assess the Impact of Hydrofracking
With an internal government analysis returning inconclusive findings on the risks of hydrofracking, the Canadian Province of Newfoundland has assembled a panel of experts to conduct further tests. The panel consists of experts in the fields of environmental regulation, engineering, geology, economics, and public health, says Newfoundland’s Natural Resources Minister, Derrick Dalley.

Houston Hosting International Frac Sand Event at the End of October
On October 28, the International Frac Sand Association will launch its inaugural meeting with a luncheon at the Downtown Houston Marriott. The IFSA was designed as a networking channel for those in the frac sand and proppant industry to be able to discuss technology and operations, as well as work toward their business and career goals.

Too Much Oil Production Could Slow Hydrofracking and Frac Sand Production
With U.S. oil supplies greatly exceeding sluggish global demands, shale drilling may be forced to scale back production in keeping with the dropping price of oil. Though the news may be cause for concern in the frac sand mining industry, the air travel and refining industries view the slow down as a windfall.

College Station, TX City Council Approves 22nd and 23rd Hydrofracking Wells within City Limits
In a 5-1 vote, the College Station, TX city council has approved a permit for two oil and gas wells to be constructed within city limits, bringing the total number of wells to 23. What makes these two new wells different is their proximity to residential housing. Project coordinators say they have considered the effects their wells can have on residents and will be constructing 24-foot walls to lessen noise and implementing a special irrigation system to steer fracking water away from the fresh water supply.

A Panel of Experts Answer Key Questions in a North Carolina Open Fracking Forum
Residents of Cumberland County, NC gathered this past Saturday to listen while industry experts described the hydrofracking process and later fielded questions from concerned residents. This past June, Gov. Pat McCrory signed on legislation that would authorize permits for fracking and natural gas development in North Carolina, beginning next year.

Frac Sand Weekly News 10/10/14

Frac Sand NewsAnd the debate rages on…

It seems wherever you find hydrofracking taking place, there is some kind of debate or competition taking place in its midst. One side says frac sand mining and hydrofracking is hazardous to public health and safety, while another says a well-regulated frac sand industry poses no significant threat. When one major rail company makes inroads in the lucrative frac sand market, another shuffles its portfolio so as not to lose ground on the competition. Even the name fracing was a point of debate this week as those responsible for the industry’s reputation butted heads with, of all things, the dictionary.

But none of this should come as a surprise. As hydrofracking becomes more deeply engrained in this country’s political lexicon, it stands to reason that the process itself would become more divisive. It is the nature of politics to be yes-or-no, right-or-wrong, this-or-that, win-or-lose, and it is our nature to weight the facts and try to judge fairly. As they say, there are three sides to every story: your version, my version, and the truth.

Study Shows Frac Sand to be Safe under Proper Conditions
In a rebuttal to the article, “Report: Frac Sand Industry Impacting Lives of Thousands who Live Near Mines,” one industry expert proclaims that there may be much ado over the risks of frac sand mining. Isaac Orr of the Heartland Institute says that common-sense regulation combined with careful practices, can take much of the risk out of what is widely thought of as a risky enterprise.

Wisconsin Group Says DNR Data on Frac Sand Air Pollution is Inaccurate
A recent Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources study created quite a stir over frac sand mining and its threat to clean air. Now, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce is questioning the DNR’s findings, saying that air quality around frac sand mines is well within the safe limits established by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Powered by Frac Sand, Canadian Pacific Railway Picks up Speed in the Marketplace
Seizing the opportunity to become the top frac sand transport company in North America, Canadian Pacific Railway is once again restructuring its resources in an attempt to cut operating costs, while investing more in its top-tier product: frac sand. This restructuring is expected to push the company’s Compound Annual Growth Rate over 19 percent.

CN Poised to Become World’s Leading Frac Sand Transport Company
In keeping pace with surging competition coming from Canadian Pacific Railway, Canadian National Railway announced this week that it expects a substantial increase in revenue aided by a boost in grain and frac sand shipments, according to S&P Capital IQ. Analysts raised their 2014 earnings per share estimate to $3.65 from $3.47 and their 2015 estimate to $4 from $3.86.

Fracking or Fracing, Which Spelling will Prevail?
There seems to be contention over just about every aspect of hydrofracking, right down to its name. The hydrofracking industry is now at odds with Merriam-Webster over the spelling of the common term ‘fracing.’ Industry leaders tend to favor ‘fracing’ (without the k), while Merriam-Webster opted to publish ‘fracking’ as the official spelling. What difference does it make? Plenty, according to industry officials who want to repair fracing’s tainted image.

Hi-Crush Shares Upgraded in Anticipation of Surging Oil Prices
After a temporary stall, Hi-Crush Partners announced this week that its shares have been upgraded from “hold” to “buy.” Wunderlich Securities, the rating firm that announced the upgrade, said that HCP’s strength lies in its sound corporate infrastructure and predictable growth potential based on the company’s close relationship with other oil-producing industries.

Frac Sand Moratorium Buys Time for University of Iowa Study
The Winneshiek County, Iowa Board of Supervisors announced this week the extension of a standing moratorium on frac sand production until October, 2015. The decision was based on studies being conducted at the University of Iowa on the social and environmental impact of the state’s newest industry. The extension should give the university enough time to collect sufficient data and compile results.

Frac Sand Market Expected to Grow by 24% per Year through 2016
The demand for frac sand has proven to be so consistent that forecasters predict the industry will experience a 24 percent rate of growth for the next two years, according to a report published by PacWest Consulting Partners.

Wisconsin DNR Accused of Lagging on Frac Sand Mine Inspections
This week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources responded to a report that the agency has inspected only 20 percent of the active frac mines in the state. The DNR denied the allegations, claiming that the number is much higher than 20 percent and suggested that the numbers were inflated by including mines that are currently not operational. The DNR has vowed to give all active frac sand mines the state-required air quality evaluations by the end of the current fiscal year next June.

State of Wisconsin Shuts Down Frac Sand Operator Not Playing by the Rules
A regulatory agency in western Wisconsin was forced to shut down a frac sand operation that was thought to be dumping polluted wastewater into an unlined pond. The mine operators did not say when, or if, they would install the proper pond lining in order to resume production.

Texas and South Dakota Scrambling to Add More Frac Sand Mines
With hydrofracking operators expected to use a combined 200 million tons of frac sand this year, new frac sand mines seem to be springing up out of nowhere in shale-rich states such as Texas and South Dakota.

Another Industry Benefiting from the Frac Sand Boom: Dust Collection
The big industries – rail, trucking, and storage – aren’t the only ones cashing in on the recent spike in frac sand demand. Griffin Filters, a worldwide leader in fabric filter dust collection systems and other environmental control products, expects demand for their product to increase significantly to correspond with the growing frac sand and hydrofracking industries.

Frac Sand Weekly News 10/3/14

Frac Sand NewsAs the topics of hydrofracking and frac sand mining become more engrained in our national fabric, it’s becoming apparent that these are no longer merely issues relegated to America’s industrial sector. These days, fracking seems to be completely integrated into our 24/7 news cycle and the collective American conscience. Fracking is political, economic, and cultural, and nothing illustrates this better then the week’s headlines from the world of hydrofracking and the frac sand industry.   

Frac Sand in Politics

Moratorium Puts the Brakes on Two Major Frac Sand Operations
The brakes were put on two major frac sand mining projects this week as the Arcadia, MN City Council imposed a year-long moratorium that will freeze all new frac sand activities. In a 4-1 vote, the City Council declined requests from AllEnergy and Canadian Silica to annex certain rural land to allow for new mine-to-rail facilities. The ruling will put both projects on hold until at least the fall of 2015.

EOG Resources and Chippewa County Partner to Stop Stormwater Runoff
In light of recent fines levied against a Pennsylvania hydrofracking operator, EOG Resources has partnered with Chippewa County, WI in an attempt to regulate stormwater runoff. K. Leonard, public relations manager at EOG, said his firm has increased the frequency of stormwater pond maintenance, which should enable the ponds to function more efficiently.

Wisconsin Ruling Could Have Deep Impact on Frac Sand Wells
A recent decision by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on how the state is to manage its groundwater could place added burdens on frac sand operations, and in fact any industry that relies on high-capacity wells. Rich Budinger, director of sand operations for Fairmount Santrol, remarked that the new ruling places undue stress on both businesses that need to install high-capacity wells, and those that already operate them.

BNSF Approaches Buffalo County with Loading Facility Proposal
Reports this week indicate that rail service provider BNSF has approached Buffalo County officials with a proposal for a rail loading facility along State Highway 35 that will help increase the company’s capacity to move freight, namely frac sand. Though BNSF declined to comment, Buffalo County supervisors Nettie Rosenow and Douglas Kane confirmed that they were approached several weeks ago by railway officials.

Chippewa County Petition Faces October 10 Deadline
An October deadline has been set for a petition to review and enforce stricter regulations on frac sand mining in Chippewa County, WI. The 29-page petition contains a litany of technical references and citations to uphold the argument that the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources must gather and implement scientific information to adequately regulate the frac sand industry while protecting the health and well-being of Wisconsin residents.

Substantial Fines Set the Standard for Frac Sand Safety
Western Pennsylvania officials have made it clear that slipshod work among the state’s hydrofracking operations will not be tolerated. The state has issued fines of $4.15 million to Range Resources for violations of six wastewater impoundments in Washington County. The violations pertain to flowback fluid leaks, a natural occurrence in the hydrofracking process. Though government officials claim that drinking water was not contaminated as a result of the incidents, residents of nearby Amwell Township are not convinced and have expressed their doubts through filing suit against Range Resources.

Frac Sand in the Economy

Frac Sand Boom Gives New Life to Petroleum Markets
It wasn’t long ago that crude oil investors nervously stood by as supply constraints consistently squeezed value out of their stocks. Practically overnight, frac sand seems to have reversed that trend as crude oil production topped 8.6 million barrels in August, the highest monthly yield since July, 1986. This week, the Energy Information Administration released a report that confirms what investors and industrialists have been hoping for: upcoming decades of robust U.S. oil and natural gas production.

Markets Anticipate Frac Sand Will Triple Over Next Three Years
U.S. Silica Holdings, Inc. projects that demand for frac sand could triple over the next five years, based on current trends from the nation’s leading providers of silica. According to a representative of U.S. Silica Holdings, there are companies that use as much as 10,000 tons of sand on a single well. This overwhelming demand has led to escalating stock prices that should continue to rise from now until 2020.

UDW Rigs Enjoying Longer-than-Usual Contract Durations
Ultra-deepwater rigs have typically enjoyed a longer lifecycle than other mining equipment, but in the current frac sand boom the need for this equipment presents an almost perpetual contract for off-shore rig contractors. The average contract for UDWs was previously around five years, but the demand for frac sand could soon extend those agreements past seven, or even ten years.

Goldman Sachs Projects 49% Growth in Frac Sand Industry
Goldman Sachs is becoming bullish on frac sand, according to a recent report from one of the company’s key advisors. Analyst Waqar Syed recently reiterated a $124 price target on Eagle Materials due to its increased consumption of frac sand, the fastest growing sector of the oilfield services sector.

U.S. Silica Doubles Share Price in Response to Market Demand
The largest frac sand provider in the nation has doubled its share price to date to $70.28 in response to demand from the oil and gas industry. U.S. Silica Holdings plans to add 16 to 20 million tons of new capacity, a potential $1 billion capital investment. It estimates growth of two times EBITDA to $550-600 million by 2017 and between $900 million to $1 billion by 2020.

Ceramic Proppants Feeling the Pinch as Frac Sand Stocks Skyrocket
With the demand for silica sand reaching new heights, manufacturers of ceramic proppants are watching the demand for their products and its market value drop like a stone. Carbo Ceramics CEO Gary Kolstad announced that his company plans to manage the competitive pricing market by attracting new industries to the synthetic proppant marketplace.

Hi-Crush and U.S. Silica Shares Take a Hit after Cramer Comments
Shares of Hi-Crush and U.S. Silica stock dropped this week after remarks made by a national television personality. Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, urged shareholders to avoid silica sand stock on the erroneous notion that sand is plentiful and any type or grade will suit the purposes of hydrofracking.

Frac Sand in Our Culture

Wisconsin Residents Torn over State’s Booming New Industry
Though some Wisconsin residents view frac sand mining as a threat to their way of life, others consider it to be a natural extension of the Upper Midwest agro based economy. One Wisconsin resident considers frac sand mining to be another form of farming, as once infertile growing land has suddenly become extremely valuable in the booming age of frac sand mining.

Organizers Announce 15% Discount on Minnesota Frac Sand Conference
The 2nd Annual Frac Sands Conference scheduled for Minneapolis on September 23-24 extended the offer of a 15% discount on the full registration price. The event welcomes all companies that have a hand in the growing fields of hydrofracking and frac sand mining, including E&P companies, oilfield well services, sand suppliers and producers, logistics firms, investors, and financiers.

Frac Sand Weekly News

Frac Sand NewsIf one word could sum up this week’s goings on in the frac sand world, that word would be ‘money.’ Wall St. reported positive earnings throughout the frac sand market, taxpayers questioned proposed county budgets, and multi-million dollar deals were both signed and abandoned. All told, the frac sand news of the week adds up to green as the richest new industry in North America was awash in a torrential cash flow. Cha-Ching!

U.S. Silica Financial Report Exceeds Early Projections
U.S. Silica released its 2014 earning projection and the news is positive for America’s premier silica proppant supplier. Adjusted earning before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are expected to fall between $230 and $240 million, which is up by around $15 million from projections made earlier this year.

Frac Sand Highlights County Budget Debate
Candidates for the Winona County, MN commissioner’s seat got together this week to discuss the county’s finances and how frac sand will figure into the upcoming fiscal budget. A public forum was presented in which four candidates for commissioner and two soil and water board execs fielded questions on funding, revenue, and what the taxpayer can be expected to shoulder.

A Trio of Newcomers to the Chippewa County Frac Sand Community
With Chippewa County, WI gaining the reputation of being a frac sand gold mine, three more companies are looking to set up shop in the silica rich region. One aggressive proposal from Northern Sands Winona, MN would establish the county’s largest frac sand mine at more than 2,000 acres.

Citizen Petition Influences Frac Sand Policy in Wisconsin
Wisconsin residents intend to present a petition to the Natural Resources Board that would force the agency to take a closer look at the impact frac sand mining is having on public health and safety. The move is thought to be in response to Gov. Scott Walker’s recent changes to the Wisconsin Environmental Act that narrows the rights of citizens to petition the government for environmental analysis.

Rainmaker Backs Out of Peace River Frac Sand Project
Alberta’s Rainmaker Resources Limited decided this week that its money would be better spent on frac sand projects in the Province, and backed out of a deal to acquire 100 percent interest to the Peace River project. “Other attractive opportunities are currently available to [Rainmaker] which have a greater potential than [Peace River],” said a Rainmaker Resources spokesperson.

Canadian Firms Enter Into a Long-Term Frac Sand Agreement
While Rainmaker Resources was busy this week weighing other investment options, another pair of Alberta firms inked a long-term proppant supply agreement. Source Energy Services announced its agreement with Canyon Services Group, Inc. to procure an annual set volume of white frac sand to sustain its hydrofracking operations through the Province.

Victory Nickel Moving Forward with Sales of Common Shares
Canadian nickel and frac sand giant, Victory Nickel/Silica announced this week that it will consolidate common shares in preparation for trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) later this year. “Management and [the company’s] board of directors believe that now is the right time for the Consolidation that was approved by shareholders at the most recent annual and special meeting,” said René Galipeau, Victory Nickel’s Vice Chairman and CEO.

South Dakota Proppants Execs Host a Mine Walk-Through
South Dakota Proppants (SDP) opened its door to the media on a proposed frac sand mining project slated for the Black Hills region of the state. Adam Martin, blogger for the South Dakota Oil and Gas Association, was led on a tour of the facility site which, once completed, will be the states first silica mine under 1750 acres.

New Database Now Tracks Frac Sand Wells from Completion to Production
This week, one of America’s leading frac sand producers introduced NavPort, a proprietary database that tracks the evolution of frac sand mines from start to finish. Using NavPort’s visualization tool, customers are able to zoom in directly to any well in North America and track all downhole consumables, including proppant consumption and fluid usage, and link them with production.

Frac Sand: America’s Hottest New Growth Industry
Wall St. may be a world away from the earthy environment of frac sand mining, but market forecasters are urging stockholders to go ahead and get their hands dirty. Frac sand is the hottest stock to hit the market in decades, and experts agree that now is the time to buy as share prices are expected to rise significantly over the coming months.

Three Frac Sand Dividend Stocks Make for Prosperous Portfolios
According to Morgan Stanley, smart investors are building sand castles. With frac sand growth expected to surge by 96 percent by 2016, investors are well advised to add shares of the commodity to their portfolios. To simplify the buying process, Morgan Stanley points out three dividend stocks that promise the greatest returns.

92 Resources Corp. Confirms a Nearly Pure Silica Deposit
The test results are in and Canada’s 92 Resources Corp. reports that its Zim Frac property consists of a nearly pure reserve of silica. “We are certainly delighted with these positive geochem results as they confirm the high purity nature of the material at our Zim Frac property,” said Adrian Lamoureux, President and CEO of 92 Resources. The sand at Zim proved to be 99 percent pure silica.

U.S. Silica Holdings Stock Continues Upward Trend
With demand for frac sand steadily climbing, KeyBanc announced that it has initiated coverage on U.S. Silica Holdings with a buy rating and a target price of $80. “Now we are seeing a fourth accelerator in demand for frac sand that should sustain the trend,” remarked KeyBanc analyst Robin Shoemaker.

Lone Star Company Strikes it Rich in the Badger State
Insight Equity Holdings LLC of Southlake, TX, is the latest company to hit pay dirt in the thriving Wisconsin frac sand market. Insight is now enjoying dividends from a $25 million frac sand facility that it built in Wisconsin back in 2011.

Rocky Mountain Compromise

Rocky Mountain CompromiseUntil recently, Colorado was at odds. Debate over a controversial industry raised the ire of citizens and sent shock waves of contention all the way up to the State Supreme Court and the U.S. House of Representatives. Some welcomed the new enterprise as a gateway for free commerce and increased state revenue, while others deemed it a black mark on the state’s otherwise upstanding, and somewhat conservative, reputation. Some feared it would lead to widespread health problems, while others contend that there is insufficient data to validate such concerns. This new industry that is sweeping through the state, though reminiscent of another newly legalized substance, might come as a surprise to most people.

The industry is hydrofracking, and it’s created quite a stir in the Centennial State.

From the national perspective, hydrofracking in Colorado has not received nearly the attention that has been given to silica mining, sand processing, and drilling activities in the Midwestern states. Colorado does not have an enormous quartz formation like St. Peter Sandstone to attract frac sand mining enterprises like a swarm of wasps to an autumn-ripe maple grove. Still, Colorado has proven to have substantial oil reserves in the Niobrara Shale Deposit, enough for major oil and gas companies to start lining up along the border to stake a claim. Oil and gas drilling has increased exponentially in recent years, with the number of wells more than doubling between 2008 and 2011. This is all good for the hydrofracking industry in Colorado, but is all the public angst warranted? Just what is the state of hydrofracking in a place known for clean mountain air, pristine lakes and rivers, some of the best trout fishing in America, and a population intent on protecting it all? Better than you might think.

Over the past decade, six Colorado counties have represented a thriving hive of hydrofracking activity, with the number of lease applications for oil and gas exploration doubling between 2008 and 2011, topping out at 8,100 applications filed in that time frame. In 2012, a project was proposed that would make the North Fork Valley region of Colorado – home to roughly 3,000 residents amid the communities of Paonia, Hotchkiss, and Crawford – the hydrofracking epicenter of Colorado. So, despite its low profile, there’s plenty of hydrofracking activity in Colorado, much to the delight of big oil and gas, and much to the chagrin of Jared Polis.

According to Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado’s 2nd District, the energy industry planned to spend up to $50 million this election season in an attempt to defeat legislation against the control and propagation of hydrofracking in Colorado. Polis, a self-proclaimed victim of the state’s oil and gas drilling development, has publicly denounced the construction of a hydrofracking operation adjacent to his Weld County farm.

This part of our Colorado dream is over,” Polis said in a self-produced YouTube video. Sounding much like a life-long hydrofracking opponent, Polis bemoaned his situation with the ominous proclamation; “it’s pretty much too late for us. This place will never be the same.”

But Polis’s plangent drew little sympathy from his colleagues on Capitol Hill, who cite the representative’s $1 to $5 million investment in Bow River Capital Fund L.P., an investment firm whose portfolio is in part, based on oil and gas exploration in Saskatchewan. So it would seem that some of Colorado’s most outspoken hydrofracking opponents are also some of the industry’s wealthiest supporters. But the real quandary presented by Polis’s statements is the residual panic it creates, which spreads throughout the communities were hydrofracking is practiced or proposed.

Aside from this apparent conflict of interest, the Jared Polis situation illustrates the contention that surrounds the hydrofracking industry in every state that sponsors it: rapid growth and massive revenues pitted against nervous constituents who fear for the stability of their communities and the overall health of the population. Until recently, there was not a better description of the debate over Colorado’s hydrofracking industry, but just as it appeared the issue was destined for stalemate, both sides suddenly found some common ground.

In early August, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, a proponent of the Colorado fracking industry, met with hydrofracking detractors led by Rep. Polis. The deal they reached entailed withdrawing four anti-fracking initiatives from the November ballot that would greatly inhibit the expansion of the industry throughout the state in exchange for the Governor’s formation of a task force to study the impact of hydrofracking and enact common sense legislation that would support both environmental initiatives and industrial objectives. The agreement could distinguish Colorado as the most politically progressive among all hydrofracking states.

“For the first time,” said Rep. Polis, “citizens will be on equal footing to the oil and gas industry.” The agreement, according to Rep. Polis, allows citizens to directly negotiate with hydrofracking companies for regulations that will protect property rights, home value, clean water, and air quality. In turn, oil and gas companies will be able to expand their enterprises throughout the state without risk of impromptu bans and moratoriums.

What does this all mean for the hydrofracking industry in Colorado? It means that while Colorado may never compete with well-established Midwestern fracking states in terms of production, the state is now a bonafide player in this thriving new industry. Halliburton, not one for making unwise investments, has recognized Colorado’s due diligence and capitalized on it by constructing a 40m lb., 54 acre frac sand storage terminal at Windsor, just north of Denver. Residual industries, too, are reaping the benefits of Colorado’s newfound hydrofracking cooperation, as evidenced in new projects within the state’s rail industry. Great Western Railway of Colorado recently announced the construction of a 60,000-square-foot steel processing and distribution facility that will help meet increasing demand for steel products in both the manufacturing and shale oil exploration industries.

So, the word is out. Colorado is a serious hydrofracking state. What’s more, Colorado may have very well set the national standard for cooperation among the hydrofracking industry, the communities in which it operates, and the governments that oversee their transactions. Colorado may never be a national leader in frac sand processing, but in light of the state’s progressive stance on hydrofracking, the Centennial State has positioned itself as the undisputed leader in clear thinking, common sense, and community involvement when it comes to this industry’s much maligned reputation. Compromise is possible.