Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is the process of injecting a mixture of water, chemicals, and sand underground to create fractures, through which natural gas and oil can flow for collection. The technique of hydraulic fracturing has been used extensively for many years in Michigan in Antrim Shale wells in the northern Lower Peninsula that produce natural gas at depths of 500 to 2,000 feet.
House Democrats have introduced a package of legislation to address concerns about fracking. This issue has been getting more and more attention, and we want to take a closer look at fracking and make sure Michigan's water, and the families that drink it, are safe. If our drinking water becomes contaminated, we need to hold drilling companies accountable.
First and foremost, the legislation would create a moritorium until safe guards are in place, which would require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use during the fracking process. Also, the bills create new, simple regulations such as requiring fracking operations to screen for adverse impacts to water resources and increasing the setback distance from homes, schools and hospitals.
We just want to be sure. We're not willing to leave the fate of our drinking water up to chance. All we're asking is for them to be transparent and accountable. Duke University scientists have linked fracking to drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania.
These are common-sense reforms to ensure that fracking is done safely. We respect the natural gas industry and the economic benefits it affords our state, but we also think about other industries. Agriculture is a huge driver of Michigan's economy, and it requires fertile land and safe water. Tourism is another, but visitors and residents won't fish from polluted streams or take their boats onto fouled lakes. These bills are a fair set of rules that everyone, industry and individual alike, should support.
Yes. Michigan has had a fracking spill in Benzie County. There have been more than a thousand reported accidents in other states, and Michigan has too much to lose if this new type of fracking goes wrong. Many property owners, small-business owners and citizens were victimized when the Deepwater Horizon oil leak occurred or, locally, when Enbridge spilled more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. We still don't know the lasting effects these accidents have had on our ecosystem, and many of these communities will feel the effects for years and decades to come.
A moratorium on issuing any new permits for High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing until:
Water withdrawal tool has to be modified:
Oil and gas would no longer be exempt from using the water withdrawal tool.
Other bills would require:
Requires oil and gas drilling operations that use an average of 100,000 gallons of water per day or more in a 30-day period to use the State water withdrawal assessment tool to screen for adverse impacts on water resources. Currently oil and gas drilling are exempt from this requirement.
The bill will also require that the water assessment tool be modified to take into consideration impacts from cumulative water withdrawals; to accurately assess the impacts of high volume, short duration water withdrawals associated with fracking and to take into consideration impacts to all rivers, streams, ponds, lakes and wetlands.
Requires disclosure of chemical additives (no trade secrets exemption) to be used in a proposed hydraulic fracturing operation as a condition for receiving a permit, which the DEQ shall publish on its website at least 60 days before making a permit decision to allow for public notice and comment. The bill requires the DEQ to disapprove an application if it determines that a less harmful fracking treatment is available. The bill also requires drillers to submit an annual report compiling total usage of fracking chemicals and to use a hydraulic fracking tracer.
Under current law, the Supervisor of Wells has to give notice of a permit application to a county and local unit of government where a (oil and gas) well is to be located, if that local unit of government has a population of 70,000 or more. Individuals may request this same information/notice.
Under this bill, a county, local unit of government or interested party may request a public hearing to take place in the community or the county where the well is proposed to be located.
The current set back from drilling operations is 300 feet, 450 feet in cities or townships above 70,000 residents and currently only residences are covered. It would remove the population limitation and increase setback requirements to 5,000 feet from the edge of the well pad.
The legislation adds schools, hospitals, public parks, and day-care facilities to those requirements.
Establishes a rebuttable presumption of liability for a fracking operation if chemicals associated with fracking or a hydraulic fracturing fluid tracer is found in nearby groundwater. Puts the presumed liability on the fracking operation.
Allow counties and townships to regulate hydraulic fracturing operations. Under current law, counties and townships are specifically prohibited from regulating oil wells. Under this bill they could regulate such things as the operation, location, and abandonment of these wells. They would not be able to prevent hydraulic fracturing from taking place.
Hydraulic fracturing involves the pumping of water and various chemicals into a well to stimulate oil and gas production. The liquid that comes back out of the wells is called "flowback and produced water" and may contain additional chemicals that are worse than went in. One community sprayed this flowback water onto dirt roads as a dust suppression tool in the summer. The DEQ doesn't allow it to happen anymore.
This bill would put into law prohibiting spraying of flowback water on roads. This will only apply to hydraulic fracturing material.
Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," involves pumping high volumes of chemically treated water into the ground to release pockets of natural gas. These chemicals have the potential to enter and contaminate the groundwater, putting the health of families at risk. The oil and gas industry is an economic boon for Michigan, but we have to be responsible about our natural resources and the health of our neighbors. If fracking does pollute our inland water, Michigan's tourism economy and natural resources would undoubtedly suffer.
The House Democrats are introducing legislation that will create sensible regulations on fracking in Michigan. It forces drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they are using in their wells. The bills hold companies accountable by requiring them to test for adverse effects on water resources and creating a liability if such effects are found. It maintains local control by allowing municipal governments to regulate fracking in their communities and requires public participation in the permitting process.
I am signing this petition to support these common-sense reforms for fracking. Michigan residents need to know their drinking water is safe, and that drilling companies are transparent and accountable for their actions.