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Frac-sand mining growth leads to increased political contributions

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - As frac-sand mining grew in Wisconsin, so did the money the industry gave to state political candidates.

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign found that the sand mining and natural gas industries gave $758,000 to candidates and comittees since 2007. That’s way up from just $19,000 in 2007 when only a handful of frac-sand mines were operating in the Badger State.

Republican Governor Scott Walker got the most, with $520,000.

Last year, about 100 mines were operating – and the frac-sand and natural gas industries donated $413,000 to state candidates.

The DNR has struggled to keep up with the growth in frac-sand mines, which provide ultra smooth sand used in drilling equipment for oil and gas.

Governor Scott Walker proposed two additional frac-sand mining inspectors in the new state budget. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee endorsed that request Tuesday.