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oil and gas drilling

Brian Peshek

Earlier this month, Republicans in the U.S. House made it easier for the federal government to give up control of public lands to states.

Many of the most avid users of these lands, especially hunters and anglers, are on edge about the idea.

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Drilling permits at 89-year low in Michigan

Dec 20, 2016
Sam Corden / Interlochen Public Radio

2016 will soon close as the second slowest year in history for Michigan oil and gas development. State officials say so far, only 12 oil wells have been drilled, and six of those have been dry.

Data from the state show that last year, only 100 permits were issued for well drilling. That’s the lowest number since 1927. This year, that number’s plummeted to a mere 40.

A lot of factors are at play, including a growing market for alternative energy. But experts say the decline can be mostly attributed to an over-saturated global market.

wikimedia user Meridithw / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Drilling for gas and oil in Michigan has just about stopped completely. As reported by the Detroit News, this year Michigan is on track to issue the fewest number of drilling permits since 1927.

No, it wasn’t anti-fracking environmentalists. It was the markets.

Oil prices dropped a couple of years ago and they’ve stayed down. The success of horizontal fracking across the nation has driven natural gas prices down.

Michigan does a fair amount of gas and oil production, particularly gas, but the market drop has killed a lot of jobs in the industry.

Hydraulic fracturing rig
flickr user Eusko Jaurlaritza / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In the last decade the term "fracking" has become part of the national lexicon.

Now, it's the focus of a new anthology that pulls together the work of almost 50 writers. It's called Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America.

wikimedia user Meridithw / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state Court of Appeals decided recently that voter approval is not needed for cities to be able to lease drilling rights under public parks and cemeteries. The Court rejected an appeal by a group called Don't Drill The Hills. It was challenging the City of Rochester Hills' decision to lease oil and gas drilling rights in two parks and a cemetery to one company, and to allow another company to replace an aging pipeline under a park. 

MDEQ makes another bad decision, this time in Southfield

Mar 10, 2016

 Think about this: As the world now knows, an entire city’s water supply was poisoned by a series of decisions switching the city over to unsafe river water.

Nobody checked to see if the water was safe; nobody added corrosion control chemicals to prevent lead from leaching out of the pipes. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality did nothing to stop this.

Instead, there is considerable evidence that they lied and tried to cover up how bad things were. MDEQ bureaucrats and its spokesman showed considerable contempt for anyone concerned about the water quality.

State OKs oil drilling permit for Southfield church

Mar 8, 2016
wikipedia http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has granted a controversial permit to drill oil on church-owned property in Southfield.

Traverse City-based Jordan Development Co. applied for the permit to drill an exploratory oil well on 1.5 acres of land leased from the Word of Faith International Christian Center.

The city opposes the drilling. Some residents say it will lower property values, increase emissions and pose a risk of contamination.

arcturusangel / morgueFile

A group of mostly Republican state lawmakers is pushing for more oil to be recovered from wells that have already been capped. And they want the state to explore technologies that could capture greenhouse gasses produced during that process.

Oil and gas drilling in Michigan down significantly

Aug 20, 2015
Hydraulic fracturing rig
flickr user Eusko Jaurlaritza / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Drilling for oil and gas in Michigan is down to levels not seen since the Great Depression.

And so far, newer methods of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are not producing a new boom for the industry.

The number of permits issued for new oil and gas wells so far this year is on track to be the lowest in more than 80 years.

Reid Frazier / Alleghany Front

A study released by a team of Penn State scientists found evidence that groundwater near a shale gas well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania was tainted by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing and drilling for natural gas. The study suggests the chemicals traveled through sideways cracks in the ground. 

Michigan Oil and Gas Association

Michigan's zoning law bars counties and townships from regulating the drilling and operation of oil and gas wells, meaning oil can be drilled as close as 450 feet from your property line without prior notification.

Detroit Free Press reporter Keith Matheny talked to homeowners living next to an oil well in their neighborhood who were given no forewarning of its construction.

Bureau of Land Management

Residents of northern Michigan got a surprise last summer. They found out some drilling for oil and gas can be done confidentially. That unnerved some people in Emmet County, who now want their local government to do something about it.

Drilling for oil and gas is on the decline in Michigan

Oct 28, 2014
Randall Schaetzl, MSU

News of a decline might sound surprising since there has been so much excitement and controversy over horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in recent years.

But not many high-volume, horizontal wells were actually drilled since 2010, and the company that led the recent fracking boom has left the state.

That leaves the industry and its watchdogs wondering where new action will come from.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This story was updated at 6:27 am on 9-10-14

State lawmakers got an earful today from people who want townships to have the ability to say no to oil and gas companies.

A 2011 amendment to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act specifically bars townships from preventing conventional drilling. 

Hydraulic fracturing rig
flickr user Eusko Jaurlaritza / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

You might recall a story last month in which Detroit Free Press reporter Keith Matheny reported that a Pennsylvania oil and gas company planned to ship up to 36 tons of low-level radioactive waste from fracking to a landfill in Wayne County near Belleville.

That news led Gov. Rick Snyder to assemble a panel of experts to take a close look at the state's regulations for this waste, known as "TENORM".

And it sparked a bipartisan reaction. State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, and State Rep. Dian Slavens, D-Canton, both proposed bills to ban importation of radioactive fracking waste.

Now, Keith Matheny has been looking at the track record of the proposed dumping ground of this radioactive fracking waste.

Matheny says after reviewing records at both the state level and the federal level, he found a litany of violations going back to the 1980s, and at least 15 violations in the past decade which involve fines of more than $471,000. 

* Listen to the full interview with Keith Matheny above.

Hydraulic fracturing rig
flickr user Eusko Jaurlaritza / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan officials might allow up to 36 tons of low-level radioactive waste from Pennsylvania into a landfill in Belleville after other states have refused to accept it.

The technical term for this sludge is "technologically enhanced, naturally occurring radioactive materials," or TENORM. The waste comes from oil and gas drilling.

Keith Matheny’s article in the Detroit Free Press prompted action by Governor Snyder, who announced he will convene a panel to look at the situation.

Matheny said in another article that EQ, a USEcology company, announced yesterday that they have decided to voluntarily stop taking oil and gas related waste while this panel makes its decision.

State Representative Dian Slavens, D-Canton, plans to introduce a House bill to ban importing radioactive waste into Michigan. And State Senator Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he will do the same in the Senate.

*Listen to the full interview with Keith Matheny above.