(Crystal A. Proxmire, Ferndale 115 News Wire, 10/5/2011)
As communities across the state begin adopting policies about hydraulic fracturing, Ferndale is at the head of the anti-fracking pack. At their Sept. 12, 2011 meeting, City Council adopted a resolution in support of statewide and national bans on using fracking to acquire natural gas, with Food and Water Watch activist Lynna Kaucheck sharing information about the controversial industrial practice. Fracking involves drilling into the earth and pumping the ground full of high pressure water and chemicals in order to force up natural gas.
Ferndale was the second city in Michigan to pass such a resolution, following Detroit’s resolution in July.
And on Sept. 22, 2011 County Commissioner Craig Covey, representing the 25th District introduced a resolution to the Oakland County Board of Commissioners calling for a moratorium “until adequate environmental studies are completed regarding the potential risks of hydraulic fracturing to our natural resources including local water supplies within the State of Michigan and until regulations and safeguards are in place to fully protect our State’s water supply and environment from such operations.” The resolution also makes 14 different points about fracking to support the temporary halting of permits, including the fact that “the oil and gas industry is not required by federal law to publicly disclose chemical formulas of hydraulic fracturing fluids so that this information is publicly available for health and safety purposes.”
“Basically I don’t want to propose an all-out ban, because natural gas is an important piece of our overall energy grid, and because even experts are divided as to the actual risk. ” Covey said. “There may be times when fracking is appropriate, or there may be ways of doing it safely, so it may not be wise to ban it forever. A moratorium means there won’t be any more permits issues until we know if it will be done safely.”
The resolution has been forwarded on to the General Government Committee, who may or may to pass it on the Board for a vote.
Wayne County became the first County to officially denounce fracking. At their Sept. 22, 2011 meeting the Commission passed the resolution 12 to 1. Commissioners Diane Webb and Martha G. Scott offered up the resolution, which was co-sponsored by eight of the commissioners. Commissioner Laura Cox cast the only vote in opposition of the resolution. In a press release about the vote, Kaucheck said “Michigan sits in the middle of 20 percent of the world’s available fresh water. That means we have a distinct responsibility to protect this vital natural resource. The time to ban fracking in Michigan is now.”