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MLive, fracking and “balanced” coverage

August 16, 2012

Yesterday, MLive posted a story about the Traverse City-based Jordan Exploration Company’s intention to purchase land for oil & gas extraction at the DNR land auction on October 24 in Lansing.

The article not only gives the Jordan Exploration Co. more of a voice in this story, the reporter never challenges the comments from partial owner of the company Robert Boeve.

Boeve presents the company’s interests purely as exploratory, but admits that if the company discovers oil or gas they could be drilling as early as next summer on potentially 39,000 acres of land the Jordan Exploration Co. is looking at purchasing in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia County.

There is not much online information about the company, but there certainly has been resistance to previous projects that Jordan Exploration has been involved in.

In January, the Oakland Press reported that the company was looking to drilling for oil and gas on the east side of the state, but that some residents were opposed to the plans.

In 2010, the Jordan Exploration Co. got approval from the DNR to open a Biomass plant in Mancelona, according to the independent media source Michigan Messenger. There was significant opposition to this project from people in the area and the original proposal was set for Kalkaska, where residents said no to such plans.

The MLive article does provide a “counter” perspective near the end of the article. A representative from the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC) said the organization “has not taken a formal position on drilling beneath the state lands, but Occhipinti said they oppose hydraulic fracturing.”

The claim by WMEAC that they informally oppose fracking seems odd to this writer. In May we reported that WMEAC would not support a permanent moratorium against fracking in Michigan, based on comments from the organization’s own blog. If WMEAC is indeed taking a clear anti-fracking position that would be welcomed news, but we could find no evidence on their website that this is a public position.

Lastly, the MLive story does not mention that at the last DNR land auction, which took place in May in Lansing, there was a sizeable protest against auctioning off public land for oil and gas extraction. There were numerous people from Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Barry County who were part of that protest, yet their voices and their perspectives were not sought out, despite their active role in formally opposing any new oil and gas extraction in Michigan. In addition, there is the statewide group Ban Fracking Michigan, which would also provide a significant oppositional voice on this issue.

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