When: Saturday, Oct 29, 2016, 1:00PM
Veteran’s Center of Menomonie E4710 Co. Rd. BB, Menomonie, WI
Speaker, Thomas W. Pearson, is an associate professor of anthropology in the Social Science Department at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. He received his PhD from the State University of New York at Binghamton and has conducted extensive research in Central America on environmental activism. For the past four years, he has been researching the social dimensions of frac sand mining, particularly grassroots activism and community-level conflicts. He is currently completing a book, tentatively titled, When the Hills Are Gone: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Place, Community, and Democracy, which will be published in 2017 by the University of Minnesota Press. He lives in Menomonie with his partner Tiffani, their two young children, Aidric and Michaela, and an annoying dog named Poochacho!
Presentation - Frac Sand Mining and Quality of Life: Understanding Potential Social Impacts.
When evaluating the impacts of frac sand mining, policymakers, government officials, and concerned citizens often focus on economic and environmental questions. Social dynamics are commonly ignored, even though proposed mining operations typically generate community-level conflicts and introduce changes that alter people’s quality of life. This presentation brings a social science perspective to understanding the impacts of mining and other extraction-based industries such as hydraulic fracturing. Drawing on first-hand research in Wisconsin, it also examines people’s experiences living near frac sand operations. Residents grappling with a sudden influx of unwanted mining activity often describe increased suspicion among neighbors, loss of trust in local government, strain on community ties and social networks, increased stress and anxiety, confusion about potential hazards, uncertainty about the future, and a diminished sense of place and belonging. A better understanding of these sorts of impacts will help concerned citizens and local officials deal with controversial industries such as frac sand mining.                 
Speaker, Kimberlee Wright, was born and raised in central Illinois. She received a law degree and a BS in rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since graduating from law school she has worked statewide in the public interest on issues ranging from elder law, environmental protection, conservation, and support for people affected by family violence. Her professional experience includes serving as the director of conservation programs for The Nature Conservancy and as the executive director for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services.  Prior to joining Midwest Environmental Advocates as executive director, Wright managed a statewide grant program for land trusts working in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to protect critical habitat and natural areas. Wright’s community service has benefitted children and adults with disabilities, access to affordable housing, environmental protection, and the preservation of pristine natural areas.                
Presentation - The Role of Citizens in Public Policy.
The rapid expansion of the frac sand industry in western Wisconsin outpaced the establishment of standards to protect public health, the environment, and community assets. Oversight at the local level has been critical to filling the void of state failure to develop the regulatory framework needed for a landscape-scale extractive industry.  In spite of powerful special interests with undue influence over decision-makers, citizens have moved steadily forward while working together to protect their communities. Elected officials at all levels of government must be held accountable for shifting risks to citizens while industry profits from externalizing their costs to communities.
Our speakers will be introduced by Dave Carlson, an award-winning outdoors journalist. Dave is well known from his long-running TV series, “Northland Adventures” and “Northland Outdoors.” Dave will also moderate a period of questions and answers.                 

We will also present a short preview of Jim Tittle’s new and upcoming documentary, “Promise in the Sand.” Presented by:  Save The Hills Alliance, Inc. STHA, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt non-profit organization. Our mission is to protect the natural environment and promote the ecologically sound use of land through public awareness, education, and advocacy. Email: [email protected] (link sends e-mail)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Veteran’s Center of Menomonie E4710 Co. Rd. BB, Menomonie, WI