Tag: Fracking

MLive: Cannon Township group gathers to discuss anti-fracking ordinance

Read the article on MLive here.

May 22, 2013 at 12:45 PM, updated May 22, 2013 at 1:06 PM

ROCKFORD, MI – A group of 15 citizens and township leaders gathered at the Cannon Township Hall on Wednesday, May 22, to create regulations that may limit hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” if an oil or gas well is ever drilled in the township.

Jim Olson, a Traverse City lawyer and founder of FLOW (For Love of Water) of Michigan said the session is the first of three he will lead with the goal of developing a zoning ordinance that would limit hydraulic fracturing in the township, located east of Rockford in northeastern Kent County.

Jim Olson, founder of FLOW (For Love Of Water) of Michigan, leads a meeting with citizens at at meeting in Cannon Township on Wednesday, May 22

Jim Olson, founder of FLOW (For Love Of Water) of Michigan, leads a meeting with citizens at at meeting in Cannon Township on Wednesday, May 22. (c) Jim Harger | MLive

“We will develop a package that is ready to turn over to your planner and your attorney,” Olson told the group at the outset of the two-hour meeting.

Earlier this month, the township’s board adopted a six-month moratorium on any “fracking” related activities while the board studies possible restrictions on “ancillary” activities.

Currently, there are no applications to drill oil and gas wells in the township or Kent County, according to the DEQ. Some private and public lands have been leased by oil and gas exploration companies.

“Fracking” pumps high volumes of water, sand and chemicals into oil and gas wells in an attempt to improve their flow.

Though “fracking” has been used on Michigan oil and gas wells for 60 years, environmentalists are concerned because “fracking” on modern horizontally drilled oil wells use millions of gallons of groundwater.

Olson told the group federal and state environmental laws exempt “fracking” activities while local governments are restricted from regulating the practice.

“We don’t take a position on whether fracking is good or bad,” he said. Banning the practice is not legal but local governments can take action to protect their water and air quality.

Banning the practice, Olson said, “is a difficult path to go down.” In fact, the state law says local groups are barred from regulating oil and gas drilling, he said.

But townships can govern “ancillary activities” such as water wells, trucking access roads, “sweetening facilities” that process the oil or gas, chemical and mixing stations and transfer stations, Olson said.

Olson said a special use permit could be developed “to at least let your citizens know what’s coming.”

Cannon Township resident Mary Reusch said she attended the meeting because she and her husband are worried about the possibility of losing the trees in the Cannonsburg State Game Area, which lies next to their home.

“It would break my heart to see those trees come down,” said Reusch, who said her husband walks through the forested area almost daily.

Reusch said she also is worried about the impact “fracking” could have on Meandering Creek, which runs through the 10-acre parcel on which they have lived for the past 13 years.

Cannon Township resident Shirley Kallio said she attended the meeting because a parcel of farmland near her home has been leased for oil and gas exploration.

FLOW leaders also are meeting with citizens in Muskegon County’s Montague Township and Kalkaska this week to discuss similar actions.
Olson, who plans to meet with the group again on June 19, gave the group “homework,” asking them to develop a rational for protecting their resources.

In the greater Grand Rapids area, the only oil and gas well that has permission to “frack” is located in Ionia County’s Ionia Township.

The well, which was drilled last fall on a farm north of I-96 by Texas-based Rosetta Resources, has not yet been “fracked” or completed, according to Bill Mitchell, a geologist with the Department of Environmental Quality.

Guest Blog: Ted Curran – “Make Them Pay”

Excelsior fracking operation in Kalkaska, MI

Preface from Jim Olson
Water in Michigan is recognized as a public resource or the “waters of the state.” Landowners or those leasing from them have a right to use water, but not unreasonably and it generally not by removing it permanently from watersheds. FLOW board member Ted Curran rightly calls on the state to start treating water as the valuable public resource that it is.

Make Them Pay

April, 2013

The oil and gas companies using millions of gallons of Michigan water to extract natural gas from fracturing shale should be required to pay a fee per gallon for the water used. So far, Michigan water has been used without cost; and, by the way, is no longer usable after it is ruined by the chemicals used in “fracking.” Also, the water taken will lower water tables at a time when Michigan water levels, including the Great Lakes, are at historic lows.

Natural gas exploration and extraction have become important factors in U.S. long-term energy needs, but it is vital that the method used do not create new environmental problems. Fresh water used in “fracking” is an example: Since the water is a public resource and the water used in gas drilling is removed from the water cycle and cannot be reused for human consumption or for agricultural purposes, it is vital that states—including Michigan—and local communities immediately begin charging a fee per gallon for fresh water used in “fracking” so that funds will be available to provide new sources of fresh water and or research the current practice of “fracking” water use to come up with a different natural gas extraction technology that protects groundwater and the Great Lakes.

A shorter version of this op-ed appeared in the Traverse City Record-Eagle Opinion section on April 10, 2013

November 14 – GASLAND Part II at the Bijou by the Bay

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Date: November 14
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: The Bijou by the Bay, 181 E Grandview Parkway, Traverse City, MI (map)
Tickets: FREE, reservation required. Please visit statetheatretc.org/tickets/ or call The State Theatre Traverse City at 231-947-4800 for ticket information.

Join a dozen local and regional groups at the FREE showing of fracking documentary GASLAND Part II at the Bijou by the Bay, taking place at 6:30 pm on Thursday, November 14, 2013. GASLAND Part II, the follow-up to Oscar® nominated film GASLAND, takes a deeper look at fracking worldwide and investigates the intense influence of oil and gas corporations on the American political system. A panel of experts will address questions following the screening, and will discuss the opportunities for empowerment that citizens have to take a stand and protect Michigan’s water, air, and land from fracking impacts in their communities.

Click here to view the full press release as a PDF

Grand Traverse Insider: Talk to discuss recent fracking developments

Click here to read the article on Grand Traverse Insider

Contributing Writer

LEELANAU – Liz Kirkwood, executive director of FLOW, will talk about the recent developments in hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Michigan at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Leelanau School.

FLOW is a Great Lakes water law and policy center dedicated to empowering decision-makers and citizens with legal strategies to protect the region’s common waters.

The Jan. 14 event is sponsored by the Leelanau Independent Women for Democratic Action (LIWdA) and is free and open to the public.

The presentation will provide an overview of the process of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) and recent fracking developments in the state of Michigan. In addition, it will discuss legal strategies that local communities are implementing with FLOW and others to regulate ancillary fracking activities and protect air, water and land resources.

For more information about the presentation, call 231-642-1391.

June 19 – Sutton’s Bay, MI: Water Issues For All of Us

This event is sponsored by Clean Water and Region 9 of Michigan Lake and Stream Associations

Date: June 19

Time: 9:30 – 2:30

Location: Leelanau County Government Center, 8527 E. Government Dr., Sutton’s Bay, MI (map)

Registration: Event is FREE, lunch provided is a $10 fee, to reserve a spot and lunch please call Sarah Litch, 231 334-3612

Schedule of Speakers:

    • Heath Phillips, Director, Inland Lake Applications for Zequanox, Marrone Bio-Innovations
    • Rob Karner, Glen Lake-Crystal River Watershed Biologist
    • Jim Olson, Environmental Attorney, Founder and President of FLOW
    • Sarah Litch, Leelanau Clean Water and Glen Lake Association Water Quality Committee

Join Us in Emmet County!

Join us on January 27th in Emmet County where FLOW will provide an educational presentation on the nature of oil and gas development in Michigan, with a focus on high volume hydraulic fracturing (“HVHF” or fracking), the associated impacts and potential harms to local water and land resources and infrastructure, and an overview of legal strategies for local communities to consider in regulating ancillary activities, facilities, and structures of HVHF. Check out the event poster for more information, it’s sure to be an interesting and informative evening!