State Rep. Vicki Barnett, D-Farmington Hills, will join Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash at the latest in his series of town meetings on the impact of state-issued oil and natural gas drilling leases in Oakland County.
The meeting will be be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 24, at Farmington Hills City Hall, 31555 W. 11 Mile Road.
A question-and-answer period will follow presentations by Nash and Barnett, who has helped introduce bills in the Michigan legislature calling for better regulation of drilling and fracking in order to protect residents’ health and water resources.
More oil and gas drilling is coming to the area, although fracking may or may not be part of the process, Nash said in a news release. Drilling is already occuringin White Lake Township and other areas, and wells are planned or in place in Waterford Township, Auburn Hills, and other areas.
Is fracking a good idea or bad? Do the benefits of uncovering new reserves of natural gas outweigh environmental and health concerns?
Many homeowners are worried about spills, noise, and increased truck and equipment traffic in urban and suburban settings. There are also health concerns regarding air and water pollution, as well as the possibility of earth tremors.
Fracking, the common term for slick water horizontal fracturing, drills wells up to two miles into the earth, then turns the drill bit horizontally to drill up to several miles. The resulting well is then filled with millions of gallons of fresh water mixed with sand, salts and chemicals. The mixture is then subjected to bursts of intense pressure to loosen rock formations and release natural gas.
Many fear possible contamination of groundwater resources and have voiced concerns about disposal of the resulting hazardous fracking fluids.
“We want our residents to be informed and learn about topics that can affect our quality of life,” Nash said. “As more and more leases are being signed across the county, residents need to know how this industry can affect the environment and their lives,” he added.
Jordan Exploration and West Bay Exploration have leased or purchased thousands of acres of land in Oakland County and the region over the past few years for exploration and possible drilling.
Nash has held town hall meetings on the subject in over a dozen locations across Oakland County over the past two years.