Source: Sherman Publications

Frack opponents speak out

by Mary Keck

June 13, 2012

Tim Heming of Clarkston gathered over 300 signatures to ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Michigan.

“The prime reason I’m concerned about this is my three grandchildren. I don’t want to leave them something they have to clean up,” said Heming, who has been learning about oil and gas drilling while studying sustainable architecture at Oakland Community College.

The signatures are on a petition to amend the Michigan Constitution to ban fracking statewide.

The township also shouldn’t be able to “legislate laws into action that dictate how my water will be handled by a corporation or a company,” said Heming, who joined the Ban Michigan Fracking movement.

The Independence Township Board heard from two county residents on the subject of oil and gas exploration, June 5.

Joe Curry of Holly, director of the Michigan Groundwater Association and a member of the Water Systems Council, said Michigan’s water systems are interconnected.

“A person in this state is never more than six miles from a natural water source or more than 85 miles from a great lake shoreline," Curry said. "Our underground aquifers, surface waters, and Great Lakes are connected.”

Fracking causes water contamination and air quality problems, he said.

Steve McPherson, a water well driller from White Lake Township, urged the board “to err on the side of caution when it concerns our air, surface, and groundwater.”

“What we have here is a perfect storm of corporate front men selling small town politicians and uninformed individual landowners on a short sighted goal of extracting natural resources in a depressed economy,” McPherson said.

In an auction in early May, Jordan Development oil and gas company from Traverse City purchased $600,000 worth of mineral lease rights in Michigan.

Eleven of the mineral parcels are located in Independence Township, and some of those minerals are beneath Bay Court Park.

Chris Bickley, Jordan Development representative, insisted the company doesn’t intend to use the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing when he talked with the township board on May 15.

The company has 300 fracking wells, mostly in northern Michigan.

Horizontal “fracking” is a process of mineral extraction that pumps millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the earth’s surface to fracture shale beds and release the natural gas trapped within.

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