Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan
Two years ago the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter and Michigan Clean Water Action, along with several allies and affected and concerned citizens, called for a delay on all fracking in our state until a new set of safeguards are in place.
These important measures must be implemented before any new drilling resumes:
A new gas rush is taking place in the Great Lakes State.
What led to all of this? In 2010 Michigan held a record-setting state lease sale of oil and gas rights in the northern Lower Peninsula, after word got out to natural gas and oil companies that our state may hold sub-stantial reservoirs 1000s of feet deep in rock layers known as "tight shale." The technique for extracting these fossil fuels is called Slickwater High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing, or just "fracking". Millions of gallons of water and thousands of gallons of chemicals are injected at 10,000 pounds per square inch deep underground into fissures in shale rock, to widen the fissures sufficiently to extract the natural gas. While a similar, albeit scaled-down technique has been used for many years in vertical wells in Michigan's Antrim shale drilling, its use in the much deeper Utica-Collingwood shale deposits introduces new concerns:
At the Federal Level
In spring of 2011 the EPA announced that under direction from Congress it was undertaking a new life-cycle analysis of the impact of hydraulic fracturing, expected to be completed in 2012. Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to rescind the exemption from Safe Drinking Water Act regulation and to require disclosure of the chemicals (but not the proprietary formulas) used in the process. Industry spokesmen have asked that no action be taken on these bills until the EPA report is completed. Stay tuned.
The national Sierra Club Beyond Natural Gas campaign has set up a webpage to track different states' efforts to regulate (or even deregulate) the process of hydrofracking.
To learn more about what the Michigan Chapter is doing about hydrofracking here in Michigan, please contact Rita Chapman by email or at 517-484-2372 x12.
Help Monitor Streams near Slickwater High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing
May 17, 2011 Press Release: Moratorium Sierra Club & Clean Water Action Call for Delay Before More Fracking in Michigan
Hydrofracking Resources including our Hydrofracking Policy & informational websites