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Activists want to save Bay Court Park



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From left: Ryan Pickering, Tim Heming, Cherie Billington, Neil Billington, Joe Curry, and Justin Baker. Photo by Mary Keck (click for larger version)
July 04, 2012 - Anti-Fracking activists had a "Save the Park from Fracking" event on June 23 at Bay Court Park, which drew about 100 people including candidates running for office.

Guest speakers such as water well drillers Joe Curry and Steve McPherson were on hand to answer questions, and organizers Tim Heming and Mariah Urueta gathered signatures for their "Ban Fracking" petition.

Neil Billington ,who is running for State Representative of the 43rd District, and Lance Enderle, an 8th District congressional candidate, attended the event to show their support.

Billington doesn't want fracking or oil drilling in the 43rd district.

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"I'm totally against it," he stated.

Jordan Development, an oil and gas exploration company from Traverse City, purchased the mineral rights for Bay Court Park and many other locations in Oakland County during a state auction, and although they have stated they will not use horizontal hydraulic fracturing to extract the minerals beneath the park, activists like Heming don't believe them.

"We've got about 500 signatures now," Heming said. His petition would amend the Michigan Constitution to ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the whole state.

Activist Urueta defined horizontal hydraulic fracturing as a process of "extracting natural gas where companies drill into underground shale formations and blast in 600 chemicals and approximately four million gallons of water. Fifty percent of the chemicals and water stay in the ground."

From Urueta's point of view, "it is important for people to learn about [fracking] for themselves before they turn on their faucet and find their water is contaminated."

Besides contamination, the organizers asserted fracking has caused earthquakes in Ohio.

"There are two major fault lines that intersect in Michigan," said Holly resident Joe Curry. "When [natural gas] is released and migrates to the surface, it causes the tectonic plates to shift."

Before Jordan Development can drill anywhere, they must get a permit from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

However, Curry said, "the DEQ has a vested interest because they make money from the permits." To learn more about horizontal hydraulic fracturing, check www.michigan.gov/dnr or www.dangersoffracking.com.

Clarkston News reporter
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