Michigan lawmakers consider new fracking regulations
By: Stephan Burklin
LANSING, Michigan: Lawmakers in Michigan were pulled into a debate about natural gas drilling when a bill that would entail further regulation of hydraulic fracturing surfaced in the House on Tuesday.
The bill, HB 5565, would required natural gas companies to reveal the types and volumes of chemicals used during the fracturing process before the state approves permits. The industry maintains that hydraulic fracturing – a method of extracting hard-to-reach gas and oil by pummeling rocks deep underground with high-pressure water, sand, and chemicals – is a safe technique. But critics are anxious that the method could lead to air pollution, disrupted water tables, and even small earthquakes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating claims that hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – contaminated water in Pennsylvania and Wyoming. At this point, no conclusions have been reached.
Fracking has been long established in the state. Brad Wurfel, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, said that 12,000 natural gas wells have been fracked across the state since the 1950s.
“Since then, we’ve never had any adverse environmental impacts,” said Wurfel, according to the International Business Times.