Gov. Snyder lauds ‘thoughtful’ U-M hydraulic fracturing report

March 18, 2015
Contact: Jim Erickson ericksn@umich.edu

ANN ARBOR—Gov. Rick Snyder praised a recent University of Michigan hydraulic fracturing report last week and said its findings helped shape changes to state rules regarding the natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.

The public will also have more information about when and where high volume hydraulic fracturing is used—permits will now have to contain this information, even if the producer is using the technique on an old well," Snyder said.

“The rules that took effect this week regarding high-volume hydraulic fracturing were developed while key decision-makers from the state were participating in the first phase of an integrated assessment by the University of Michigan’s Graham [Sustainability] Institute,” Snyder said Friday during a speech on energy policy.

“That helped us see an opportunity to strengthen our protection of water and give the public more information. We are pleased at the level of thoughtful interest and exchange this issue is receiving outside of government.”

On Feb. 20, U-M researchers released a detailed draft analysis of policy options for the future of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan. The draft report is the main product of the U-M Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment’s second phase and consists of seven chapters totaling more than 270 pages.

The first phase of the two-year project featured seven detailed, peer-reviewed hydraulic fracturing technical reports, released to the public in September 2013. Taken together, the two-part integrated assessment is the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on hydraulic fracturing.

“Because the state is the key decision-maker on this topic, it’s been very important to have state engagement throughout our process, and it’s great to know that the work has already been helpful,” said John Callewaert, integrated assessment director at the Graham Sustainability Institute.

U-M Vice President for Government Relations Cynthia Wilbanks said the U-M hydraulic fracturing study “represents a great collaboration with the state on an important policy discussion.”

In his remarks last week, Snyder said the state recently made changes to require more preparatory work and monitoring of water levels for high-volume hydraulic fracturing projects. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality must now be notified at least 48 hours before such operations begin.

“The public will also have more information about when and where high volume hydraulic fracturing is used—permits will now have to contain this information, even if the producer is using the technique on an old well,” Snyder said.

Also, the pressures and volumes being used will be reported, and operators must post information about the chemical additives they used on the FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry, which is available to anyone on the Web.

The draft U-M fracking report issued Feb. 20 will be revised in response to input from an expert review panel; an advisory committee with representatives from corporate, governmental and nongovernmental organizations; and public comments.

The deadline for submitting public comments is Friday, March 20, at 11:59 p.m. Read the report submit comments at myumi.ch/L4Vx6.

The final report is expected this summer.

“The state looks forward to reading the final assessment and considering whether further rule changes or other improvements should be proposed,” Snyder said.

 

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