Opposition to pipeline spreading across state

Capital News Service
LANSING — Some Michigan communities are calling on state officials to shut down an aging oil pipeline between the state’s Upper and Lower peninsulas, even though they lack jurisdiction in the matter. Line 5 is a 63-year-old oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Inc., a private Canadian company, at the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. Line 5 now operates at more than 80 percent of its original design capacity. Environmentalists say they are afraid it will rupture. A 2014 University of Michigan study called it the worst possible place to have an oil spill in the Great Lakes.

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.

Natural gas supply exceeds demand, forcing prices down

Capital News Service
LANSING – Falling natural gas prices in the state might prompt drilling companies to cut production, according to the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. A growing supply of natural gas in the state has weakened prices, putting pressure on drillers, said association president Frank Mortl. With dropping prices, producers are hurting, but consumers are huge winners, he said. Michigan ranked 13th among the states in natural gas production in 2006, according to Oil Gas Michigan. “The warm winter made customers pay less for natural gas on their bill.