Local Voices Heard In Lansing On New Fracking Regulations

July 17, 2014

Local Voices Heard In Lansing On New Fracking Regulations

7/17/14 - Livingston County residents were among those heard by the State Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals last night at a public hearing on new regulations for fracking. The meeting brought almost 150 concerned residents to Lansing, and about 50 of them addressed the OOGM representatives with their concerns. Once public hearing is gathered, the regulations will undergo further review and tweaking before final approval or rejection is given by the Secretary of State. Changes to existing law include allowing fracking operations to receive permits before they finish gathering leases, requiring them to disclose the chemicals they use within 30 days of the start of fracking, and increasing monitoring and oversight. Residents at the public hearing said they did not go far enough, claiming either better regulation was needed or that fracking was inherently dangerous and needed to be banned. Among the local voices was Brighton’s Kathy Carney, the chair of the Fonda Island Briggs Water Authority, who tells WHMI the regulations will not mitigate the threat posed by a planned drilling site inside the authority’s wellhead protection area. Residents of Conway Township who had been affected by the fracking operation there also voiced their concerns with the new regulations. Many speakers criticized the proposed change that would allow fracking operations to go on for 30 days before disclosing what chemicals are being used, urging the OOGM to require disclosure before fracking. However, State Geologist and Chief of the OOGM Harold Fitch says that would be difficult since fracking companies often do not know what chemicals they will use until the day they begin fracking. He adds that since groundwater moves slowly, residents should still be able to get useful baseline water samples even a month after fracking begins. The only person to support the regulations as written at the public hearing was Bill Myler, Jr., the chair of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association’s General Practices Committee. Other speakers said there is clearly something wrong with new regulations if they are supported by the industry they regulate, but opposed by environmentalists. Follow the link below to view the proposed changes. (TD)

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