That scene as pictured in the May 2 issue of the Squire was pretty well reframed by the L.T.E. “Fractured charm” in the May 16 issue. The May 2 story is largely a shallow history of the oil and gas extraction in Michigan from its very beginning most of this history is before and without high volume slick water hydraulic fracturing (HVSWF). Mr. Collins in a 1,705 word interview, May 2, includes only two sentences with a total of 26 words which in some degree refers to HVSWF. These two sentences in case you don’t remember them were, the first regarding the fact that a well site “It’s not pristine, it is a construction site” and a little later the “the actual drilling of the well is quick seven to 14 days”.
I’ll be honest with you readers I have never had the opportunity to witness a drilling pad being developed but I imagine something with bull dozers and other such equipment removing all trees, leveling the site, developing the site access road, the digging and lining of the fracking water pit and the drilling of a fracking water well. The site will need power and lighting for the 24/7 operation, trailers for personal, equipment, chemicals etc. With an industrial site I vision associated noise, lights, diesel truck traffic to and from the site on neighboring roads. These industrial sites can be as relatively close to homes or business as is permitted by DEQ. The actual approximately 5 acre industrial site will be determined by the leasing company with some limitations by the DEQ.
Hal Fitch, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Oil, Gas & Minerals told me at a presentation at the annual meeting of The Four Township Water Resources Council meeting on April 29, 2013 that he was aware of 5 wells on one pad. So what is described by Mr. Collins as “quick” could easily be 5 times more than quick. Industrial sites are usually associated with, besides noise, air contamination. How often do you see diesel trucks sitting with their engines shut off? Rarely! Also in Mr. Finch’s presentation the very last sentence summarizing the DEQ’s position was a statement indicating their position is to prevent harm to our natural resources. Permitting the permanent pollution of millions upon millions of drinking water seems to be the opposite of that statement.
Mr. Collins’ comment regarding Wolverine World Wide looks like smoke and mirrors. WWW had facilities to treat their waste water so it could be deposed of safely into the Rogue River. Later on WWW paid a large part of the cost of a sewer line taking their waste water to the Grand Rapids sewage treatment plant. A much different picture than the Fracking picture where the water is polluted to such a degree it cannot economically be cleaned and returned to the natural water resource it came from but is pumped instead into brine wells in Michigan where it is out of sight, out of mind and out of use for ever.
What should be done? Some folks and groups call for a ban or a moratorium. The Izaak Walton League of America is one such group calling for a moratorium in 2011 pending the results of a review being done by the EPA. The League also has polices leading the way to more and more renewable non polluting energy. Michigan has a current meager goal of 10% of our energy from such sources by 2015 while Iowa is well on their way to achieving their goal of 40%.
In Michigan we need to push Governor Snyder and our elected legislators to get serious regarding renewable energy, which will, in the long run, stop the polluting of our air and waters and the fish we catch from these waters that are contaminated to some degree from the burning of fossil fuels.
How much water is being destroyed when a well is Fracked with 20 million gallons of drinking water? The average American family of four reportedly uses 400 gallons a day inside and outside the home. Simple math shows that this is 136.9 years worth of water. Or putting it another way, 136.9 families of four for one year. Multiply this answer by 5 wells per pad and then the number of wells currently permitted being planned by the O & G industry in Pure Michigan and it paints a very BIG picture of water destruction in the Great Lakes basin.
I believe, as so many others do, it is time to really get serious for 100% of our energy from non polluting renewable sources. Here is one published in Scientific American in November 2009 “A Plan to power 100% of the of the Planet with Renewables” http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030 and another http://phys.org/news/2011-01-present-renewable-energy.html is for 100% of the worlds electricity needs by 2030.
Bob Stegmier, Rockford