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Emily Lane, an environmental advocate from Faulkner County, attended the caucus meeting. "I think it's funny how she means it will change the economic landscape, but clearly we all know it will change the natural landscape as well," she said.
Local nonprofits such as the Sierra Club, Arkansas Policy Foundation and the Arkansas Wildlife Federation refer frac sand questions to Friends of the River — and the group does seem more versed on the matter. But Weber is quick to distance the Friends from a blanket anti-mining sentiment. "We want any business that's done here to be done in a way that it doesn't destroy the environment, because we still have such high water quality in the Ozarks. We believe if we work with industry, we can get them to change their processes, like we did with Evergreen ... . We don't want to keep them from doing this, but to do this in a way that it doesn't interfere with environment," he said.
For Ed Alexander, the debate hits home because the Ozarks are home. He just wants to protect his land and that of his neighbors. "I've hiked the area that [Petros] is proposed for, and it's incredibly beautiful. It has a small stream, canyons on both sides. It's beyond my imagination why anyone would want to destroy it ... . It's impossible to put a dollar value on the peace people feel when they visit or live in this area. That has a value as well," he said.
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