As the possibility of fracking in Michigan becomes increasingly more likely, citizens are banning together to prevent what they believe to be a catastrophic degradation of the environment. But are they just buying into politicized hype?
Fracking is a method of obtaining natural gasses, such as methane, and oil using hydraulic pressure. Unlike vertical drilling, horizontal fracking can access resources that are deeper and harder to reach by injecting various substances, including water and chemicals, into rock formations. Oil and gas deposits are released from the earth when the rock formations break apart.
Opponents of fracking are skeptical of the entire process. When fracking was just stating to be used, reports of hazardous waste and chemicals appearing in fresh water recourses began to surface in the media.
Fresh water is a resource that Michigan takes great pride in. The possibility of polluting our lakes is not worth the benefits of fracking for some state residents. The Committee to Ban Fracking is a ballot question committee that has recently formed in order to stop any form of fracking from happening in Michigan. On their official website, letsbanfracking.org, they say, “We believe that only a ban on fracking will protect our health and safety, our precious fresh water, communities, parks, forests, schools, businesses, farms, tourism, wildlife, and environment from the devastating harms of the massive, industrial-scale fracking planned for Michigan.”
The Committee to Ban Fracking is proposing a legislative ballot that would change Michigan’s state statute, not the state constitution. They claim that Michigan currently grants oil companies special protection to ensure “maximum production” of oil and natural gas. The committee would change Michigan priorities, and place human health and environmental protection over economic benefits.
Fracking proponents claim that it has been used for decades, and concerns are only a result of media hype and politics. However, this is not entirely true. Vertical fracking has been used for years to obtain recourses, but horizontal fracking, which the Committee to ban Fracking is trying to prevent, has only been practiced for the last few years and is still being studied.
The EPA plans to release an official report by next year on horizontal fracking. In response to the concerns of hazardous chemicals being released into the environment, they said, “the EPA has not made any judgment about the extent of exposure to these chemical when used in hydraulic fracturing fluids or found in hydraulic wastewater, or their potential impacts on drinking water recourses.”