Fracking in the Michigan Legislature – “push me pull you”

25 Apr 2012

I remember from Dr. Doolittle the pushmi-pullyu which had two heads and when it tried to move, both heads go in opposite directions.

House Democrats introduced legislation yesterday that would regulate more heavily “fracking” in Michigan.  If passed, it would require those seeking permits to explore for natural gas to:

  • Describe the type and volume of fracking fluid to be used;
  • Provide details about each additive in the fracking fluid including its trade name, supplier and purpose;
  • List chemicals and concentrations expected to be in the fracking fluid, excluding trade secrets;
  • Identifying the service company to be used;
  • Evaluate alternative fracking treatments that are less risky and explain why those aren’t being used.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because the MDEQ required some of these things regulatorily about 11 months ago (here).

Frackers will also be required to provide information on the fluids actually used, including the trade secret information, which is to be held as secret, unless successfully challenged.  Another exception from the trade secret is the provision of information to health care professionals who need the information for diagnostic purposes.  In that case, it must be provided but then must be held in confidence by the health care provider.  Interestingly, the law would allow the information to be shared with other health care providers or laboratories but not to the patients themselves.  This sort of issue has already been criticized in other states.

The flip side of this is a report that was released by the House Natural Gas Subcommittee on Energy and Job Creation which urges greater efforts toward enhanced oil and gas recovery in Michigan as well as a sunset of 2008 PA 295 which imposed the renewable portfolio standard on Michigan utilities.

The Michigan House appears to be of “two minds” when it comes to fracking and resource extraction.  Let’s see if they can go anywhere.

 

 

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