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Wanted: your take on fracking in Michigan

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Well head where fluids are injected into the ground. Joshua Doubek | Creative Commons

Well head where fluids are injected into the ground. Joshua Doubek | Creative Commons

Just got approached for donations by a young man with Environment Michigan. Evidently, they’re pushing Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell hard to rule against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking — where drillers use high-pressure water and chemicals to release oil and natural gas — on national forest land. Their pitch is protecting the Great Lakes.

I’m a complete noob when it comes to Michigan environmental issues, but not to fracking in general. As a recent import from Wyoming, the economy of which is utterly dependent on energy extraction, I’ve followed the stories of those who say fracking ruined their water supplies and the very powerful energy companies who say the complainers are full of it. The state government in Wyoming is energy-industry-friendly and many, many livelihoods are directly and indirectly dependent on energy; I don’t know how things stand here.

So before I read up on what’s been going on in Michigan, I ask you to fill me in on your take. Is the concern over fracking on national forest land overblown or top priority? Are the Great Lakes at risk, or is that a marketing ploy when the actual risks of fracking are more complex and difficult to explain? Or should I have opened my meager wallet on the spot and thrown money at the guy who came knocking?

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.

4 Comments

  1. Lindsay

    June 6, 2014 at 1:11 am

    I don’t own property here in Michigan, but in my home state of Arkansas, there’s a lot of fracking going on and a lot of concerns about environmental and health consequences. I would support efforts to halt any fracking efforts in Michigan while we can. Later, maybe the energy industry will figure out how to manage the problems. But surrounded by the largest freshwater resource in the U.S., and with an underground contamination issue already threatening our water supply (the dioxane plume), we don’t need fracking here. We need to be focusing our economic development efforts away from dangerous practices and on innovative solutions — the kind of thing that once made Michigan great.

  2. Grey wolf

    June 9, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Have you seen the documentary ‘Gasland?

    • Jim McBee

      Jim McBee

      June 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Yes, though when I watched it I was focused on the segments filmed in Wyoming and Colorado. I have not seen “Gasland 2.”

  3. Edward Vielmetti

    August 21, 2014 at 6:18 am

    Jim, I’m putting together background info at Arborwiki about fracking, and came across your piece here.

    This is the current state of detail that’s there:

    http://localwiki.net/ann-arbor/Fracking

    Would be happy to talk about opportunities to write in more depth.

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