Michigan LCV to DEQ: Clarify fracking instructions

photo: natural gas drill

Michigan LCV joined the Michigan Environmental Council, National Wildlife Federation and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council in sending a letter to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) clarifying the new permitting and reporting instructions for hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. These instructions, as referred to in a press release on May 25, 2011, indicate that the DEQ is taking small steps to ensure safer natural gas development in Michigan.

However, despite the DEQ’s effort to address the public’s concern over the potentially harmful effects fracking can have on freshwater, wildlife, and natural resources, questions remain on how exactly the DEQ plans to implement these instructions. In addition, concerns remain over whether these instructions are adequate to safely protect our natural resources.

A few main points included in the clarification letter:

1) What does the Office of Geological Survey (OGS) mean when it states that “the ability to utilize an on-site water supply well(s) may be impacted”? Does the department plan to apply a standard that is different than for other water users within the state?

2) How does the state plan to ensure adverse resource impacts do not occur from different drillers attempting to access the same sub-watersheds?

3) Is OGS requiring Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all chemical additives used in the hydraulic fracturing operation?

4) Why is OGS not requiring the chemical information prior to the drilling?

5) Does the MDEQ intend to develop a process to disclose the information to the public to increase transparency, and if yes, how so?

To read the complete letter Click Here