Allamakee County approves hold on frac sand mining

WAUKON, Iowa (AP) — County officials in northeast Iowa have approved a temporary moratorium on frac sand mining.

The Gazette ( ) reports supervisors in Allamakee County voted unanimously Monday on the moratorium for at least 18 months. The move gives a planning and zoning commission time to study the potential ill effects of the practice.

Frac sand mining involves extracting specialized sand used in hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water, silica sand and chemicals under high pressure into underground shale deposits to release inaccessible oil and natural gas.

The commission will make recommendations to county supervisors by July 2014.

A spokesman for a group that opposes frac sand mining says he hopes the moratorium will at least give them time to form rules that protect the environment.