The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Energizing Wisconsin

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted September 30, 2016

Wisconsin doesn’t produce any oil, it doesn’t produce any natural gas. But it produces great sand – lots of it that plays a critical role in America’s energy renaissance.

wisc_thumbnailClick on the thumbnail to view a two-page energy infographic for the Badger State.

Wisconsin is the nation’s leading fracking sand producer, supplying 24 million tons of it, accounting for 44 percent of U.S. production, in 2014. It’s a special sand, composed of 95 to 99 percent silica and quartz, and it serves a special purpose in hydraulic fracturing. Once shale and other tight-rock formations are fractured by a pressurized solution comprised mainly of water and sand, the sand granules hold open the fissures so that oil and/or natural gas can be collected.

In this way Wisconsin helps illustrate the long economic chain of the oil and natural gas industry – the suppliers of materials, equipment, technical support and more – which boosts state and local economies beyond exploration and development itself.

As for Wisconsin, the state used more natural gas (24.8 percent) than any other energy source in 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coal accounted for 56.4 percent of Wisconsin’s net generation of electricity last year, followed by natural gas (20.4 percent) and nuclear (15.4 percent).

All of us can thank Wisconsin for its sand. It’s integral to the safe fracking that has delivered an energy revolution in this country – one that has made the U.S. the world’s No. 1 producer of oil and natural gas. This revolution has lifted the economy, created jobs and lowered costs for U.S. households – while also helping reduce U.S. energy-related carbon emissions to levels not seen in more than 20 years. To sustain and grow our energy renaissance, we need pro-development policies. Some of the benefits of such an approach are outlined in a chart on Page 2 of the Wisconsin infographic.

Energy is essential for virtually every aspect of our daily lives. It powers national, state and local economies, gets us to work and goes into products we rely on for health and comfort. Safe, responsible energy development here at home is linked to national security as well as Americans’ individual prosperity and liberty – in Wisconsin and all the 50 states of energy.


Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.