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Michigan DEQ spokesperson claims fracking is safe and that they “don’t judge energy sources”

October 17, 2012

On Thursday, October 18, Representative Pete MacGregor from the 73rd District will host a forum on fracking for people at 6 p.m. at Cannon Township Hall, 6878 Belding Road.

Joining MacGregor will be representatives from the Michigan DNR and DEQ to answer questions about concerns people might have about the method of natural gas extraction, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

In an article last week in the Rockford Squire, DEQ spokesperson Brad Wurfel was the only source cited on the issue, where Wurfel defended the practice of fracking:

Wurful said scare tactics such as the movie Gasland are misleading. A much-promoted graphic of homeowners who are able to light their drinking water on fire has nothing to do with mining or fracking. “I just found a public service flier where the lead graphic was someone lighting their tap water on fire.” He said it happens less often now that more people are hooked to municipal water systems, but homeowners who have well water do have the possibility to have naturally-occurring methane gas contaminate their wells, allowing the alarming possibility of tap water that can burn.

The reporter with the Rockford Squire apparently thinks there is no reason to question a government spokesperson on this critical issue that involves public health, environmental protection and climate change.

There is plenty of recent evidence that there are human health and environmental risks involved with fracking. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) came out with a recent report confirming the fact the fracking poses serious environmental and human health risks. There are also two new studies done by the US Geological Survey on the contamination of groundwater when fracking occurs.

The fact that Rep. MacGregor did not invite other experts with opinions and facts that differ from the Michigan DEQ means that those who attend are less likely to be aware of the critical perspective on fracking in the US.

Anyone who can attend to share such a perspective would at least provide a more balanced view on this critical issue.

Other up Coming Anti-Fracking Actions and Campaigns

We posted a few weeks back about the big protest coming up on Wednesday, October 24 in Lansing, where the DNR is going to auction off more mineral leasing rights to oil & gas companies on public land.

The DNR auction begins at 9am on the 24th at the Lansing Center, located at 333 East Michigan Ave in Lansing, just east of the Capital building and the river. The protest begins at 8:00AM. For more details there is a facebook event page.

Two days before the protest there is an effort to pressure the Michigan DNR by calling the Executive Director Keith Creagh and telling him to stop the auctioning off of mineral rights on public land to oil & gas companies. People are being encouraged to flood that office with phone calls on Monday, October 22. Call 517-373-2329 for DNR Director Keith Creagh and 517-335-3251 for the Natural Resources Deputy Mary Uptigrove. There is a facebook page for this action with more details and a script if you are looking for ideas of what to say.

Yesterday, we posted a notice about upcoming screenings of the anti-fracking film Gasland that will be shown in West Michigan over the next few weeks.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug Burkholder permalink
    October 17, 2012 11:32 pm

    Jeff has there been any info on the materials or chemicals used in fracking ? This has been a secret and we ,the public should know if any of these materials are toxic ! . I dont here this being brought up much anymore !

  2. October 18, 2012 12:38 am

    Doug, there is a good list of chemicals known to be used in fracking at this link and a good description of the health consequences.

  3. October 19, 2012 1:32 pm

    One of the major concerns with the chemicals used in the fracking process is what is known as the Halliburton Loophole. The chemicals are exempted from the Clean Water Act, through this Halliburton Loophole. Then VP Dick Cheney had a role in this exemption while in office. Many of the chemicals are proprietary and thus the companies don’t have to release their names to the general public. I may not be explaining this correctly, here is a better explanation:

  4. Jeff Smith permalink*
    October 19, 2012 1:37 pm

    Mary, you are absolutely right. Thank you for adding this to the comments.

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