Environmentalist Group: New Fracking Legislation Not Enough

Environmentalist Group: New Fracking Legislation Not Enough

An environmental group called Food and Water Watch says legislation introducing more hydraulic fracturing regulations in Michigan does not go far enough.

Spokeswoman Tia Lebherz tells WOOD Radio she believes fracking should not happen here.

"Once you really start investigating, you really will find that there is no such thing as safe fracking, and there is no way to regulate it.  If we really want to protect Michigan, we're going to have to ban fracking."

At the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the chief of the Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals is Hal Fitch.  He disagrees with Lebherz's assessment.

"We actually have an excellent record of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan.  We've had over 12,000 wells hydraulicly fractured, going back to 1952."

Lebherz also criticized the process for contaminating water and making it very difficult to recycle and nearly impossible to reintroduce into the water supply.  Fitch said the water is possible to treat, but it does remain full of dissolved salt which is "pretty hard to removed."  It could be re-used for other fracking wells.  Otherwise, it gets stored in tanks.

Fitch said a given well uses 5 to 8 million gallons of water in its life, with some very large wells using up to 20 million.  He told WOOD Radio Michigan as a whole consumes about 600 million gallons of water each day.

Earlier this week, state House Democrats said they're sponsoring legislation that would, among other things, require the disclosure of chemicals used in fracking.  Fitch said the DEQ already requires that.

Pictured is a DEQ inspector at a fracking well.


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