A “Frackdown” that means something

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On Michigan’s “Global Frackdown Day”, do something meaningful.

For “Global Frackdown Day,” Michigan activists can do something symbolic.  Or they can take real, meaningful action that will lead to actually banning fracking.

High-volume shale gas fracking has started here.  As of the end of August the DEQ had issued 40 permits.  Pennsylvania already has 3000 deep frack wells, and Michigan is headed the same way unless we stop it.

The legislature and governor are not about to ban fracking, and they are busy leasing off more acres for fracking or crafting bills that simply regulate fracking, so the only way to get a statewide ban is with an end-run, state constitutional amendment.

The 3-sentence amendment would ban horizontal fracking in the state, as well as disposal of frack waste.  Read the exact wording here.

Make the commitment to work with a group of friends to collect 2,000 signatures to amend the state constitution with Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan.

The campaign needs 100 groups or more to commit to collect 2,000 signatures each, in the next month, to make it to 400,000 signatures by November 6th.  Over a single weekend, a group of ten people can easily collect that many signatures at a busy festival or event.

Collecting signatures on the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day.

Can you spare a day or two of your time to ban fracking in Michigan and get a BAN that can stand the test of time?

Getting out to an event and asking strangers to sign a petition to ban fracking is an exhilarating experience. It gets you talking with people face to face, voter to voter. It is democracy in action. As we petition, we find people who have never heard of fracking and people who do know and are quick to sign.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is a state ballot question committee.  The amendment petition has been approved by the State Board of Canvassers. There is a 180-day window to collect signatures to place it on the 2014 ballot.  The window closes on November 6, Election Day, after which the Committee will collate and organize the signature sheets and deliver them to Lansing.

Many groups talk the talk of a ban.  But Ban Michigan Fracking walks the walk.  We wrote the amendment language and formed the state ballot question committee, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan. We do not support efforts such as the various frack reform bills introduced in the Michigan House this year, which attempt to regulate the practice and make fracking “safe.”

Fracking cannot be done safely no matter how well it is regulated, and the regulations in Michigan are weak to begin with.

So let’s do something effective to BAN FRACKING IN MICHIGAN. Take action now.  Sign up to circulate petitions by contacting a coordinator near you at:  www.LetsBanFracking.org

BREAKING: Michigan Frack Disaster– Over 40,000 gallons of frack fluids approved by Michigan DEQ for use on roads

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BREAKING NEWS (September 18, 2012, 12 midnight)

News that over 40,000 gallons of dangerous, toxic frack fluids from a northern Michigan horizontal frack well in Kalkaska County,  (Excelsior 1-25 HD1), were approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality in May for use on Michigan roads as “brine” is slowly leaking to Ban Michigan Fracking and other activists through a series of emails and phone calls.

A wet, recently "brined," machine-applied Sunset Trail in Mackinaw State Forest, during the hot dry summer of 2012 nearby the Excelsior deep frack well, the source of the frack fluid.

Two letters by DEQ senior geologist Ray Vugrinovich, provided to Ban Michigan Fracking last week, addressed to a company called Team Services LLC indicate that he evaluated the test results of a sample of what he calls “brine” from the Excelsior 1-25 HD 1 well and approved it for dust and ice control on Michigan roads on May 14, 2012.

A month later on June 13, 2012, the DEQ realized its error and revoked its permission, stating:

“Since that time it has come to my attention the well is still producing so-called flowback water from hydraulic fracturing. Because of the unknown composition of the flow back water, the uncertainty regarding impacts to soil, groundwater and surface water, of the compounds used during hydraulic fracturing, use of brine [sic] from the State Excelsior 1-25 HD-1 must be discontinued immediately. Brine from the well that has been moved to a central holding site prior to use must be disposed of by injection into a disposal well.”  — Ray Vugrinovich, DEQ Senior Geologist, revoking permission he gave Team Services LLC a month prior, allowing massive use of flowback wastes on Michigan surface roads and landscapes

In an email,(1)  DEQ’s Rick Henderson admitted that 954 bbls of frack fluids from two Excelsior wells were taken from the frack well during a two-week period and used on roads:

“Yes. Between 5/30/12 and 6/13/12 954 bbls of flow back water & brine from the Excelsior 1-25HD1 and the Excelsior 1-13HD1 were applied to roads.” — Rick Henderson, DEQ

How much is 954 bbls (barrels) of frack fluid??

1 bbl is 1 barrel or 42 gallons

954 bbls x 42 gallons = 40,068 GALLONS 

Picture this, as we did, of railroad tanker cars hauling water from NY to PA to frack in PA: One tanker car holds about 24,000 gallons of water.

Consider the magnitude of this spill:

NEARLY TWO TANKER CARS OF FRACK FLUIDS WERE DUMPED ON MICHIGAN’S LANDSCAPE and DEQ is to blame.

Where’d it all go? We demand to know! Here’s a list of approved “brines” from oil and gas wells, obtained through the DEQ:

BrineListApproved2012

Ban Michigan Fracking sent a request to the DEQ, through the Freedom of Information Act, demanding more information about this disastrous, permitted dumping of toxic frack fluids, including records of any clean up the DEQ has done, and where all the 40,000+ gallons of toxic frack fluids has been strewn.

In her remarks to the Natural Resources Commission on September 13, LuAnne Kozma reported on BMF’s FOIA request and demanded an investigation of the incident.

Environmental Impact ALERT–Water Supplies and Human Health Threatened

Ban Michigan Fracking urges all residents, commercial property owners, farmers and others concerned about the damage of the 40,000-gallons of frack fluids to human health and the environment to document the damage and test your water supplies, streams, lakes, soil, crops and animals. Test your families. Report illnesses to your doctors. (See House Bill 5565 on the impending threat to gag medical personnel prohibiting them from revealing frack chemicals, even to patients).

Dr. Ron Bishop, of NY state, a chemist who has written extensively about the dangers of frack fluid, states: “Some chemicals in ubiquitous use for shale gas exploration and production, or consistently present in flowback fluids, constitute human health and environmental hazards when present in extremely low concentrations.” (Risk Assessment of Natural Gas Extraction, p.2) Bishop’s list of chemicals are a good guide for testing. Go to an independent lab, not one associated with state government.

 

1. On September 17, 2012 DEQ operations chief Rick Henderson wrote to JoAnne Beemon of Don’t Frack Michigan in answer to her question:

“Was any of the brine from Excelsior 1-25 HD-1 applied to the road?”

“Yes. Between 5/30/12 and 6/13/12 954 bbls of flow back water & brine from the Excelsior 1-25HD1 and the Excelsior 1-13HD1 were applied to roads.”

Michigan is getting FRACKED: Thousands more to come

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Michigan is undergoing an onslaught of deep horizontal frack wells. These are monstrous beasts, “not your father’s gas well.”

Many people are surprised, horrified and then outraged when they learn that Michigan, in the heart of the Great Lakes, is being fracked by horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

One of the three State Excelsior wells in Mackinaw State Forest in Kalkaska County on Sunset Trail. Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

Forty deep frack well applications have been permitted so far* representing 36 different wells. How many hundreds and thousands are to come?

*As of 8/27/2012. See the DEQ’s list of High Volume Hydraulically Fractured Well Completion Active Permits and Applications

Michigan is in the “exploratory” stage now, but all indicators–from rampant leasing of mineral rights to the widening of roads and seismic testing, forested lands being clearcut prior to any frack applications, and the establishment of “man camps”–point to a plan for an ever-increasing network of deep horizontal frack wells to come throughout the Lower Peninsula.

To BAN and prohibit this new kind of horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the state, members of BMF started a ballot question committee, “Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan” to amend the state constitution. Go to the committee’s website at:www.LetsBanFracking.org to find how you can get involved in this effort before the November election.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality repeats the industry claim that fracking has been going on “for decades” to reassure us that nothing is amiss. However, the new High Volume Horizontal Hydraulic Fracturing, (HVHHF) or unconventional horizontal drilling for “natural” gas, now called simply fracking, that has been devastating the nation and places throughout the world, is new and is currently threatening all of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. To understand the industry’s and government regulators’ PR spin, see the documentary “Unearthed: The Fracking Facade” here:

The frackers are drilling in the Utica and Collingwood shale and the A-1 Carbonate layer in Michigan. The frack wells are located in Antrim, Cheboygan, Crawford, Gladwin, Hillsdale, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Montmorency, Osceola, Ogemaw, and Roscommon Counties in the Lower Peninsula.

THOUSANDS more to come

Midland Daily News reported on September 13 that Encana alone has identified 1,700 deep frack well sites in Michigan in the Utica Collingwood shale on the 430,000 acres they have leased for fracking.

Eighteen applications for new well permits the DEQ has in hand are also from Ionia and Crawford Counties in addition to the counties listed above.

Leases for state-owned mineral rights have been auctioned off in many more counties including Barry, Oakland and Washtenaw Counties.

Despite hype from the industry and compliant, business-oriented media that the gas industry has slackened or slowed or “drooped” or “fizzled” (those are all the headlines), the DEQ is on a steady march to approve frack well after frack well.

Where are Michigan’s Horizontal Frack Wells?

Antrim County

Antrim County’s State Mancelona 1-28 HD1 and 1-31 HD1 are just two of the frack wells here. Another State Mancelona application is pending.

The Christmas tree at State Mancelona 1-28 HD1, a frack well in the state forest in Antrim County. Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

Cheboygan County

This is the site of one of the first Collingwood-Utical shale wells, Kendall 1-27 HD1. “Man camps” are planned for Cheboygan and Kalkaska Counties to bring in fracking crews presumably from out of state.

Entrance to the Kendall 1-27 HD1 in Cheboygan County.

Gladwin County

In the middle of the state the frack industry is going after a layer called the A-1 Carbonate. The wells in Gladwin, Ogemaw, and Roscommon, Ionia Counties are the locations of the A-1 carbonate frack wells. The danger of H2S, deadly hydrogen sulfide gas leaks plague people in Gladwin County and other areas.

The Cronk 1-24 HD1 well by Devon in Gladwin County and warning sign at the gate about the risk of deadly Hydrogen Sulfide gas leaks. Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright Ban Michigan Fracking.

Kalkaska County

In Kalkaska County it’s our state forests that are being used for the fracking industry’s Michigan experiment. The city of Kalkaska is the home of the Roughnecks ice hockey team and a Halliburton outpost. The State Excelsior wells in the Mackinaw State Forest now have a huge drilling rig (see photo above), a frack well flowline, and processing station. Didn’t you think our state forests were supposed to be for forestry, watershed management, wildlife, fisheries, and recreation?

See this video taken in September 2012 of our once beautiful state forest land.
Footage of State Excelsior frack wells & drill rig

Kalkaska: home of the Roughnecks. Do you think the frackers give a flying hockey puck about your water quality?

Hillsdale, Jackson and Lenawee Counties (The Irish Hills area)

The vacation land known as the “Irish Hills” is known for its many lakes and rolling landscape. In less than two years, the area became the home of 42 conventional wells for oil and gas. Forty more wells are planned. Some of the wells go under the local lakes. Huge metal silos dot the landscape with gigantic flares burning off the methane that the companies, which are after the oil, feel free to burn off into the atmosphere, where residents and animals are breathing its toxic fumes, and heating up the planet. With the Collingwood-Utica shale layer being directly below these soon-to-be 82 wells, deep horizontal frack wells are just a matter of time. Dr. Chris Grobbel presented a program to the community warning them of this danger. (See Resources menu for Grobbel’s presentation)

Four horizontal frack wells have been permitted in Hillsdale County. We are still acquiring information about these wells. Please contact us if you can share photos or information.

The oil company flares off climate-changing methane gas at this conventional oil well in the Irish Hills. Soon, deep frack wells for Utica-Collingwood shale will begin in the area. Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

Three new Class II injection wells are also planned for this area. The DEQ already approved these permits and the EPA recently held a hearing, and are expected to rubber stamp the approval of these permits soon.

The Detroit Free Press did an article about the area earlier this year:

Oil boom fears flow in pristine Irish Hills | Detroit Free Press | freep.com

Missaukee County

The well that started the land rush for mineral rights in Michigan is the State Pioneer 1-3 HD1 well, located in a state forest, drilled by EnCana.

 

Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

Ogemaw County

Devon Energy has drilled and fracked this deep frack well called David’s Acres on Henderson Lake Road. It is also in the A-1 Carbonate layer.

David's Acres frack well in Ogemaw County, on Henderson Road. Ogemaw County is considered a new hot spot for fracking in Michigan and more wells are on the way.

Roscommon County

Roscommon has one frack well permitted, State Richfield 1-34 HD1, and another, State Roscommon 1-8 HD1, applied for, both by Devon Energy. The State Richfield site, along Campground Road in the state forest, had been totally cleared of trees, and the county road commission approved the widening of the road, paid for by Devon Energy, before an application was filed with the DEQ. And this with a state with “great” regulations.

You can see how regulations are not the answer to this problem.
They ARE the problem.

The State of Michigan allowed the clearing of this state forest acreage in Roscommon County along Campground Road for State Richfield 1-34 HD1 without any application even submitted to the DEQ by Devon Energy.  Photo taken in July 2012 (before the application was even applied for) by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright Ban Michigan Fracking.

MORE TO COME SOON IN THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES:

Oakland County

Barry County

Kent County

Yours?

Please contact us at info@banmichiganfracking dot org to tell us about possible fracking, leasing, injection wells, or other concerns.

Ban Michigan Fracking and landowners sue DEQ over Michigan frack wells

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Update 9/19/2012: Oral argument was had before Judge William Collette in Ingham County Circuit Court today. A decision is expected soon.

DEQ’s response brief

Plaintiffs’ reply brief

Ban Michigan Fracking together with individual plaintiffs Deanna Hughes and Heather Schiele, who live nearby a horizontal frack well in Gladwin County, sued the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) this week in Ingham County Circuit Court to force the DEQ to treat all frack wells as injection wells, to revoke the permits issued to Encana for the frack wells called Excelsior 2-25 HD1 and 3-25 HD1 and any other permits issued to Devon or any other company since the petition was filed, and suspend the granting of any new permits until the judge’s ruling.

One of the three State Excelsior wells in Mackinaw State Forest in Kalkaska County on Sunset Trail. Photo by LuAnne Kozma. Copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

VIDEO: Footage of State Excelsior frack wells & drill rig

First the plaintiffs had filed an administrative request in April for a declaratory ruling to the DEQ  asking the agency to treat frack wells statewide as injection wells, and to suspend issuing all Michigan frack permits while it decides the petition.

In response to the administrative request, on June 28 DEQ head Dan Wyant untimely rejected the petition.

The plaintiffs moved this week for summary disposition. The judge will hear the case on the merits on September 19, 2012 in the Ingham County court in Mason, Michigan.

See: Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Disposition.

The frack well site owned by Devon Energy in Gladwin County and warning sign at the gate about the risk of deadly Hydrogen Sulfide gas leaks. Photo by LuAnne Kozma, copyright by Ban Michigan Fracking.

 

The suit offers factual evidence that the gas industry agrees a frack well is an injection well, so the DEQ should too.

A favorable ruling would mean applicants for frack wells would have to provide data, among other things, about the chemical analysis of the types of fluids to be injected.  The data would have to be provided at the time of the application. While that data would provide nearby landowners some information so that they can do  baseline water testing, the DEQ rules, as this lawsuit proves, are so weak and don’t even compare to the industry’s own recommendations to test for the carcinogenic compounds such as BTEX (Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylene), Dielsel Range Organics (DRO), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and Dissolved Methane, among other compounds.

Hughes and Schiele live in Sherman Township, Gladwin County, where Devon Energy is beginning horizontal fracking in the A-1 Carbonate layer, a bit shallower than Utica-Collingwood.

Documents:

Request for Declaratory Ruling

Affidavit by Ellis Boal

Exhibit 1

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 3

Exhibit 4

Exhibit 5

Exhibit 6

Exhibit 7

Exhibit 8

Exhibit 9

Exhibit 10

Exhibit 11

Affidavit by Guy Bradmon

Letter of DEQ chief Dan Wyant

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Disposition