Varnum BlogsToggle Nav
Michigan Legislators Mull Fracking Moratorium
Democrats in Michigan’s State House have thrown their support behind measures designed to put in place a 2-year moratorium on the issuance of any new permits for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) until the U.S. EPA and the state are able to study its effects. State Representative Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) cited well and groundwater problems that have arisen in other states. However, representatives from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, whose Office of Geological Survey oversees oil and gas drilling in Michigan, insist that with the addition of Michigan’s new requirements for fracking applications (added in May), that the state now has some of the strictest regulations in the country for fracking and that the process has been used safely here for decades for shallower wells. The proposed bills also put into statute DEQ’s May 2011 fracking requirements, thereby helping to protect them from legal challenge.
The bills that have been introduced in the House are: HB 5149, HB 5150, HB 5151 and HB 4736. The last of these creates a presumption of liability for the person doing the fracturing if chemicals used in the fracturing fluid are found in groundwater in the vicinity of the fracturing well. Another bill dealing with chemical disclosure of fracking fluids is expected to be introduced soon.