(Crystal A. Proxmire, 9/13/2011)
Prompted by the 95 Ferndale residents who signed a statewide petition, including her own mother, City Councilperson Kate Baker brought a successful resolution before council to support statewide and national bans on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The resolution passed unanimously on Sept. 12, 2012. “A lot of times we see something that really represents who we are as a city, as an environmentally conscious, forwarding thinking city. I would hope that when we see things like that we would consider passing then at this table. I think this is one of those things,” she said.
She introduced Lynna Kaucheck, a Ferndale resident who also works for Food and Water Watch. Kaucheck shared information with Council and residents about fracking, which is a practice of drilling into the earth and pumping the ground full of high pressure water and chemicals in order to force up natural gas. (The resolution is below for those that want to know more).
In addition to being an active environmentalist and Ferndale homeowner since 2005, Kaucheck considers herself a a humanist, a consumer advocate and an educator. “I grew up loving water and I knew I wanted to protect it and all the life that it supports. So I fight to make sure that all people have access to safe, affordable and sustainably produced food and water and that these resources are available for generations to come. We have to (in this country) start putting people before greedy corporations. Providing essential human rights like food and water should always come first.”
Kaucheck says fracking is an issue for everyone. “There are natural gas wells in Oakland County so its relevant in the respect, but really as citizens of The Great Lake State and as stewards of 20 percent of the world’s available fresh drinking water we have a distinct responsibility to protect that resource.
‘Sometimes there are things so big that they go beyond the boundaries of a city, state, country, whatever, and water is one of those things. There is a finite amount of it on this planet and we are all responsible for protecting it no matter where we live,” she said.
“Today Ferndale answered the call to protect the Great Lakes, and our hope is that this bold statement from the Ferndale City Council is the beginning of a trend and that other Michigan cities will follow suit” said Kaucheck. Ferndale is now the second city to have passed a resolution supporting a ban. In July, Detroit became the first city in Michigan to pass a resolution banning the drilling practice.
Baker took care to explain that the resolution did not create a ban on fracking. Rather it expressed the City’s support of such a ban at a state and federal level. For more information about this and other topics covered at City Council meetings, please see the City of Ferndale website.
CITY OF FERNDALE
SUPPORTING A STATEWIDE AND NATIONAL BAN ON HYDRAULIC FRACTURING
FOR NATURAL GAS, AND SUPPORTING THE FRAC ACT AND BREATHE ACT
At a Regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Ferndale, Oakland County, Michigan, held in the Council Chambers at 300 E. Nine Mile, Ferndale MI 48220 on the 12th day of September, 2011
The following resolution was moved by Council Member and supported by Council Member:
The hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas involves the use of chemicals and hazardous materials during construction, drilling, hydraulic fracturing, gas production and delivery, well maintenance, and workover operations; and
Hydraulic fracturing of underground geologic formations is often accomplished by injecting a complex mix of fluids and chemicals, including large volumes of water, on average 4.5 million gallons per well, under very high pressure to create fractures in gas bearing geologic formations; and
Many of the chemical constituents injected during hydraulic fracturing have documented adverse health effects and/or adverse environmental impacts; and
There have been more than a 1,000 documented cases of water contamination near fracking sites, including reports of drinking water being flammable; and
Wastewater from fracking can contain radioactive elements and has been discharged into rivers that supply drinking water for millions according to the New York Times; and
Use of hydraulic fracturing mixes expose adjacent land and surface waters to the risk of contamination through open pit storage, truck transport on roadways, and activities during well development; and
The pollution of water caused by fracking threatens the long term economic well being of communities, as businesses and consumers depend on clean drinking water; and
In 2005, as part of the federal Energy Policy Act and over objections of health care, scientific, environmental, and conservation communities, regulation of hydraulic fracturing fluids under the Safe Drinking Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency was exempted, thereby allowing oil and gas companies to use these substances without federal oversight or standards; and
The oil and gas industry is not required by federal law to publicly disclose chemical formulas of hydraulic fracturing fluids; and
The Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (“FRAC Act”), currently pending in Congress, would repeal the fracking exemption to the Safe Drinking Water Act and require disclosure of chemicals used in fracking; and
The Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act (“BREATHE Act”), currently pending in Congress, would repeal the exception to the Clean Air Act for aggregation of emissions from oil and gas development sources; and
Protection of water supplies and resources is better accomplished by prevention now than by future attempts to cure.
The Case for a Ban on Fracking is available here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/the-case-for-a-ban-on-gas-fracking
A map of municipalities that have taken action against fracking is available here: