Michigan and fracking
|This article is part of the FrackSwarm coverage of fracking.|
By April 2012, oil companies signed 167 leases with people in Michigan's Barry County, compared to 81 signed in 2011. The leases give the oil companies permission to frack the land looking for oil. In Barry County, leases typically range from $10 to $80 per acre per month.
Antrim Shale, Michigan
The Antrim Shale of Upper Devonian age produces along a belt across the northern part of the Michigan Basin. Although the Antrim Shale has produced gas since the 1940s, the play was not active until the late 1980s. During the 1990s, theal drilling is not widely used. Unlike other shale gas plays such as the Barnett Shale, the natural gas from the Antrim appears to be biogenic gas generated by the action of bacteria on the organic-rich rock.
In 2007, the Antrim gas field produced 136 cubic feet of gas, making it the 13th largest source of natural gas in the United States.
Lobbying and donations
The 2011 Common Cause report, "Deep drilling, deep pockets, in Washington and Michigan," found that "from 2001 through June 2011, the fracking industry gave $20.5 million to current members of Congress and spent $726 million on lobbying." For Michigan, Rep. John Dingell was the top recipient with $203,453, followed by Rep. Dave Camp with $154,627, and Rep. Fred Upton with $153,917. Rep. Upton chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where the FRAC Act, which would require drillers to disclose the chemicals used in fracking, has been stalled.
The report also tracked $2.2 million in campaign contributions to Michigan’s state elected officials, and $2.8 million spent on lobbying in Michigan. State Treasurer and former House Speaker Andy Dillon was the leading recipient with $128,500, followed by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm with $98,800, former Attorney General Mike Cox with $76,250, and Gov. Rick Snyder with $61,900.
Price fixing allegations
In June 2012 Reuters reported that, under the direction of CEO Aubrey McClendon, Chesapeake Energy plotted with top executives of competitor EnCana to suppress land prices in the Collingwood Shale formation in Northern Michigan. In emails between Chesapeake and Encana Corp, the rivals discussed dividing up Michigan counties and private landowners to avoid bidding against each other in a 2010 public land auction and in at least nine prospective private deals. Price-fixing between competitors is illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act. In Michigan alone, the two companies combined now hold more than 975,000 acres of land - an area about the size of Rhode Island.
Proposed fracking operations
Encana Oil & Gas intends to frack 13 new wells in Kalkaska County, Michigan in search of natural gas. The operation will require more than 300 million gallons of groundwater for production.
It was reported that the company's new applications for fracking permits — and the amount of proposed groundwater — raised concerns among some local residents.
“It’s pretty astounding,” said Chris Grobbel, a Traverse City-based environmental consultant. “A small-sized municipality is going to use about 100 million gallons annually. It’s three times the quantity … it’s quite a substantial amount.”
Other critics contend that Michigan Department of Environmental Quality officials does not adequately regulate drilling wells, given the large volumes of water used, and that public documents show "Encana’s wells all fail a water withdrawal assessment measurement designed to protect the state’s water resources."
Legislative issues and regulations
In February 15, 2013 it was reported that Michigan's Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot initiative petition on fracking by Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a ballot question committee. A second approval was given on April 17, 2013 for a revised ballot wording. The Committee's ballot initiative is a "legislative proposal," a process spelled out in the Michigan state constitution, that allows citizens to write their own law, collect signatures from Michigan voters and put the proposal before voters at the next statewide election in November 2014.
Reuters reported that "The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is proposing a voter initiative to amend state law and ban fracking, a form of natural gas extraction."
The ballot initiative language is available on the Michigan Secretary of State's website. Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is a citizen-led ballot initiative. The proposal would prohibit horizontal hydraulic fracturing and horizontal hydraulic fracturing wastes, and eliminate the state's policy of fostering the natural gas industry along the most favorable conditions to maximize production of natural gas and oil.
- ↑ Dave Spencer, "Oil Companies Flocking to Frack in Barry County: Some are calling it a win-win others raise health concerns over fracking," Fox, April 30, 2012.
- ↑ Michigan DEQ map: Antrim, PDF file, downloaded 12 February 2009.
- ↑ James Browning & Alex Kaplan, "Deep drilling, deep pockets, in Washington and Michigan," Common Cause, 2011.
- ↑ Brian Grow, Joshua Schneyer, and Janet Roberts, "Special Report: Chesapeake and rival EnCana plotted to suppress land prices," Reuters, June 25, 2012.
- ↑ "More fracking wells planned" Glenn Puit, Record-Eagle, March 24, 2013.
- ↑ Michigan Secretary of State, "."
- ↑ Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, ."
Related SourceWatch articles
Click on the map below for state-by-state information on fracking:
- Ban Michigan Fracking
- Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan
- Michigan Land Air Water Defense
- Respect My Planet
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