This Wednesday evening, July 16, 2014, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is taking public comment on their proposed update to Michigan’s fracking rules this Wednesday at the Lansing Center in Lansing, MI.
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
333 East Michigan Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933
DEQ’s proposed fracking rules (PDF) do not go far enough in protecting Michigan’s air, land, water, and property rights from oil and gas hydraulic fracturing and its associated industrial processes. (Learn more about fracking here). The following are a selection of changes to DEQ’s proposed rules that would improve them:
Disclose all chemicals to be used in fracking operation prior to drilling – The proposed rule change requires disclosure of all chemicals used, but not until 30 days after the well has been completed. This information should be available to property owners and first responders on the Internet prior to drilling. (pg. 36)
Require baseline testing of water quality prior to all oil and gas operations – The proposed rule change requires baseline water quality testing only in the case of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Baseline water quality testing should be required prior to all oil and gas exploration. (pg 34-35)
Ensure water withdrawals for fracking do not impact area rivers, streams or wells – The current system of assessing water withdrawals is not designed to protect against massive one-time withdrawals of water that can exceed 20 million gallons per well. Greater protections are needed to protect stream flows and individual water wells from withdrawals for fracking-. (pg 32-.33)
Prohibit fracking on any property whose owner has not voluntarily agreed to lease it – Under current law a landowner can be compelled to allow drilling under their property even though they have not entered into a lease under the theory that oil or gas under their property will be drained by the drilling activity. In the case of fracking, shale formations have minimal ability to be drain unless fracking occurs. Therefore, a property owner should be allowed to object to any “fracking” under their property in exchange for taking no proceeds from the drilling operation. (pg. 14)
Prohibit the drilling of wells before all properties are leased or a compulsory pooling hearing is conducted – Under the proposed rule package an oil and gas developer will be allowed to commence drilling prior to having all property under lease, or a hearing being conducted on compulsory pooling. This change deprives private property owners of their right to dispute being included within a drilling unit. (pg. 14)
Protect drinking water from oil and gas produced water used for dust suppression – Benzene, a known carcinogen, is allowed in production water, a byproduct of oil and gas drilling that is used for dust suppression on roads. The allowable benzene concentration in the produced water is 200 times higher than drinking water standards. This is out of line with the other chemical concentration restrictions allowed and needs to be lowered. (pg. 24)
All interested persons are invited to attend and present their comments on the proposed rules. Anyone unable to attend may submit comments in writing to the address above or digitally at the link below.
Written comments must be received by July 31, 2014.