Representatives from FLOW met today with Cannon Township officials and interested parties for the second in a three session workshop designed to help local governments draft legal protections against high-volume hydraulic fracturing operations, a.k.a. “Fracking”. In a previous session held last month, FLOW founder Jim Olson and executive director Liz Kirkwood presented an overview of the many hazards associated with fracking and the legal strategies available to local governments interesting in adopting protective measures. The session held today gave attendees the opportunity to discuss the potential fracking-related risks that concerned them and the most appropriate legal responses to each issue based on police power ordinances, zoning ordinances, constitutionally-based franchise agreements.
Suggestions for new and revised Cannon Township ordinances were circulated; some of the township’s existing regulations apply to fracking or could be amended with language that addresses the harmful aspects of fracking operations. Jim Olson highlighted the special use permitting process and planned unit development frameworks as powerful tools to control fracking at the local level. The third and final FLOW workshop at Cannon Township Center is scheduled for September, at which time revised ordinances with updated language regulating fracking are scheduled to be finalized for enactment.
In Allegan County, Gun Plain Charter Township is scheduled to hold their first FLOW workshop this evening, with both the planning commission and township board scheduled to attend, to discuss fracking issues in a framework similar to the sessions in Cannon Township. The special joint meeting starts at 7:00 PM at Township Hall: 381 8th Street Plainwell, MI 49090 .
*UPDATE* The Gun Plain Charter Township planning commission and township board are also scheduled to meet with the Department of Environmental Quality on Thursday the 27th, also starting at 7:00.