The State of Michiganis holding an Oil and Gas Lease Auction involving 23 counties acrossMichigan, four of which areWest Michigan counties: Newaygo, Mecosta, Oceana and Barry counties. InBarryCounty alone 23,000 acres are being auctioned off to oil and gas drillers that use the controversial hydraulic fracturing process, also known as fracking.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will auction mineral rights May 8 to nearly all of Yankee Springs Township including Yankee Spring Recreational area and land surrounding Gun Lake. Residents of Barry County are increasingly concerned about the negative impact the auction and subsequent drilling will have upon the environment.
Fracking is the process of injecting a mixture of water, chemicals and sand underground at a very high pressure. This blasts apart geological formations so that natural gas can flow and be brought to the surface.
There are several health and environmental concerns surrounding fracking, including the use of at least 750 chemicals of which at least 29 are carcinogens, the contamination of drinking water, excessive water withdrawls (up to 6 million gallons of groundwater per wellhead), and the possible induction of earthquakes.
An informational meeting concerning the allowance of oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing of public lands inGunLakewill take place Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8:30pm at Pierce Cedar Creek. The meeting is open to area landowners and anyone interested in learning more about oil and gas leasing of private properties.
WMEAC is monitoring the situation closely and will have a more formal response later in the week.