New study evaluates fracking in Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — A new report breaks down what’s up with fracking in Michigan. A University of Michigan study addresses policy options for high-volume fracturing—underground injections of at least 100,000 gallons of chemicals, sand and water to extract natural gas. The multi-million dollar question is if gas prices go, up will fracking increase? Researchers at the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute analyzed a variety of policy options, and experts addressed three areas of policy concern: chemical disclosure, public input and water protection. They explored options like requiring the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to respond to public comments about state land lease proposals for hydraulic fracturing.

Activists, localities work to keep fracking rare in Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — Across Michigan, citizen activists and environmental groups are working together to prevent the expansion of the fracking industry, which they view as a threat to Michigan’s environment. Hydraulic fracturing, most commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a method used by energy producers to extract natural gas and oil from wells drilled thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. Environmental groups believe that the extraction of natural gas via fracking poses a significant threat to the environment. In the past year local governments have worked with environmental groups to pass ordinances that restrict the fracking industry’s ability to mine. Cannon Township in Kent County, for example, approved an ordinance that included restrictions on dusk-to-dawn lighting, prohibiting unshielded lighting in all zoning districts.

Lawmakers consider using carbon dioxide to extract more oil from Michigan wells

Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan lawmakers are considering a controversial bill that will allow drillers  to use carbon dioxide to extract oil  from outdated wells. It is part of a series of bills to amend laws that regulate the storage and purchase of crude oil and petroleum. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, will allow companies to pump carbon dioxide deep into old wells to extract more oil. “If you have a pop bottle and you shake it, it overflows,” said Maggie Datema, the director of legislative affairs at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “It’s the same concept.

Fracking fervor fomenting

Capital News Service
LANSING — The process is the same: Drills burrow thousands of feet below the surface to make way for large quantities of water, sand and chemicals to be pumped into the ground to create fissures for gas to flow through. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has existed in Michigan since 1952, largely without opposition or question. More than 12,000 wells have been drilled during the past six decades the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) hasn’t recorded a major leak or spill in that time. Despite what industry officials call an impressive safety track record, this method of natural gas extraction is under fire. Advances in technology allow energy companies to dig deeper and efficiently extract more natural gas and oil, creating a nationwide boom in supply and raising environmental concerns among residents of producing states, such as Michigan.