Environmentalists Hoping To Ban Fracking - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Environmentalists Hoping To Ban Fracking

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(WLNS) – Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources holds a "land auction" a couple times a year, leasing state land to bidders.

On Thursday in Lansing environmentalists vowed to protest companies who might eventually use that land for hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

6 News Joe Khalil was there as demonstrators tried to draw attention to the issue.

It's normally a quiet event, but Thursday’s protestors outside the Lansing Center made as much noise as they could, while the DNR auctioned off 22,000 acres of state land to the highest bidders.

"That land which will be auctioned off for as low as two dollars an acre will go to the profits of corporations that are going to be drilling,” said Todd Bazzett, Committee to Ban Fracking.

Certain companies use the technique to get to oil and gas thousands of feet below ground. Environmentalists nationwide say it's bad for the land and for public health.

Reporter: "So you think the economic benefit is not worth the environmental damage?”

Bazzett: “No, as a matter of fact, it's being aggressively done and people are probably very unaware of it."

No one who took part in the auction was willing to speak to me on camera, but many of them said they don't come from companies that frack, they bid on the land and then lease it to those companies. They say whatever those companies do with that land is their business.

"It's never caused an environmental problem in this state and we aim to keep it that way.”

Brad Wurfel with the Department of Environmental Quality says more than $12,000 wells around the state have been hydraulically fractured with no evidence of any problems.

But to be safe, DEQ’s added new regulations on companies who frack, from water testing to transparency in their operations.

"From the moment they decided where to drill a hole in the ground to the day they button that well up, we are on the ground,” said Wurfel.

He says Michigan’s fracking regulations are tough, but fair. Though the DNR hosts the land auction, they have no say in which companies can or cannot drill for minerals, that falls on the DEQ.
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