Rochester Hills and other Oakland County residents will have an opportunity Tuesday to speak out about fracking and the potential effect the practice could have on the environment.
Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash is planning another in a series of town hall meetings to focus on the impact of new state-issued oil and natural gas drilling leases in Oakland County.
The town meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at Rochester High school, 180 S. Livernois Road, Rochester Hills. Nash, representatives of the oil and gas industry, and representatives of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality are expected to make presentations, and a question-and-answer period will follow.
Over the past year, Jordan Development Co. and others have leased or purchased mineral rights in Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills and thousands of acres of land in Oakland County and the region for exploration and possible drilling.
Horizontal oil and gas drilling appear to be coming to the area, though high-volume fracking may not be part of the process, Nash said a news release. Homeowners have voiced concern about spills, noise, and increased truck and equipment traffic in urban and suburban settings.
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 then fills up 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. Critics of the process fear possible contamination of groundwater resources, as well as concerns about the disposal of the resulting fracking fluids.
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