Strengthening Local Control Over the Water and Public Health Impacts of Fracking
FLOW is partnering with select counties and townships in Michigan to develop local zoning or police power ordinances to protect their communities and their water from the industrial land-use impacts of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” a water-intensive oil and gas extraction method. These impacts include potential surface and groundwater contamination, spills, air emissions, road traffic, chemical-laden water disposal, chemical exposure, and other related environmental risks.
Fracking uses up to 21 million gallons of water, mixed with chemicals and sand, per well to release oil and gas trapped from deep underground rock formations. Once contaminated by these chemicals, the water used is permanently removed from the water cycle and injected into deep wells.
To advance our fracking ordinance program, FLOW’s team of legal and policy experts conducts research, develops policy and local ordinances, participates in public meetings, talks with community members, publishes articles, and makes public presentations.
The Need for Fracking Regulation in the Great Lakes Basin
In 2010, the Encana Company’s State Pioneer Well in Missaukee County became the first horizontal fracking well in Michigan. Recognizing the exemption of deep shale horizontal natural gas drilling from key federal and state laws and regulations, FLOW saw an urgent need to develop legal strategies for local governments in Michigan to safeguard their communities from the unprecedented and cumulative impacts of fracking.
In 2012, FLOW pioneered our model local government fracking ordinance program. Since then, FLOW’s team of lawyers and policy specialists has given dozens of presentations and has worked in seven communities around Michigan to empower leaders and citizens in developing a menu of local zoning and police power ordinance recommendations to protect quality of life and natural resources.
Our local fracking ordinance program continues to fill a vital need in the State of Michigan as FLOW works with a coalition of organizations dedicated to educating citizens and officials about state and local legal strategies to regulate ancillary oil and gas activities in Michigan.
Reports and Handouts
- FLOW Report: Horizontal Fracturing for Oil and Gas in Michigan: Legal Strategies and Tools for Communities and Citizens, November 2012
- Summary: Legal Strategies and Tools for Communities and Citizens
- Fracking in Michigan: How Drilling for Natural Gas Could Impact the Great Lakes
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Existing Protective Ordinances in Michigan
- Cannon Township Enacts Ordinances to Regulate Ancillary Oil and Gas Activities
- As Part of FLOW’s Model Local Ordinance Program
- FLOW Local Ordinance Program Addresses Fracking Impacts in Conway Township, MI
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