'Fracking' the Focus of Oakland County Town Hall

Approximately 100 turned out to hear from activists, elected officials, and industry experts on the controversial issue involving natural gas underneath area waterways.

PONTIAC — Three hundred, twenty-two thousand, six hundred and nine.

Activist LuAnne Kozma won't deny that it's a lot of signatures required to get her favored proposal for a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," on the Nov. 2014 ballot, but after a special town hall meeting on the subject, she feels optimistic.

"I don't think we can rely on the current state government, or frankly, the future government to do this. It's a power that we, the people, have, and we need to do this for ourselves and future generations," said Kozma, the campaign director of the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan.

Approximately 100 turned out to the Oakland County Commissioners Auditorium Wednesday night to learn more on the subject and to network with others in the crowd, the vast majority of whom who seemed to be strongly against the controversial practice of collecting natural gas from underwater sources, currently taking place in several counties in Michigan.

According to organizers and county commissioners Jim Nash (D-Farmington Hills), a candidate for  and Craig Covey (D-Ferndale), the process of fracking involves using a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to break apart energy-rich rocks.

Erik Bauss, of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, said that he frequently works with the energy industry and state regulators to safely drill in order to take advantage of home-grown resources. However, in Kozma's view and the view of many in attendance, the industry is in bed with state legislators, blind to local concerns.  

"Our state regulators pretty much repeat industry talking points. They say, 'We have no plans for this county,' but they really do. It's actually surprising to me that it's an issue here, because of the high population. I'm hoping county residents will use this to make others in the state aware of what's happening," said Kozma, a Charlevoix resident.

The issue became local in large part after a state mineral rights auction in May during which Jordan Development of Traverse City purchased much of the available 18,347 acres in Oakland County. West Bloomfield resident Kathy Chiaravalli, who attended that auction as well as the meeting in May, pointed out that rights to .

"In Michigan, there’s absolutely no relationship between the starting bid of the land and the potential economic benefit. No relationship between the starting bid of the land and the potential impact. It could be on a lake with many people," Chiaravalli said Wednesday during public comment.

Chiaravalli successfully lobbied officials in her township to pass a resolution banning oil and gas drilling. However, Kozma pointed out, that may not be enough to protect the entirety of Oakland County from potential harm.

"Locally, local community after local community can band together, but at the end of the day it still sets up a situation in which some communities are protected while others are not," she said.

Marjorie Findley March 26, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Oil and gas industry experts can testify ..... How to make money !! It's not their job or responsibility, to identify the safest way. ( That's the fox telling you, he's taking care of the chickens!) As an engineer, I'm surprised you would believe this. We should ALL do research on this topic, using a variety of resources, not from big oil/gas (or DEQ Hal Fitch, who works with them). Anyone who approves of FRACKING, does not understand it. Do you realize, from 5 million to 21 million gallons of fresh water are permanently chemical-contaminated per each fracked well ? And this destroyed water must NEVER be returned to the water table. This presents two problems; 1) oil companies taking Michigan fresh water (with Great Lake levels at lowest in history) -- for free ! and 2) Storing this frack-contaminated water in underground 'injection wells' forever --- without it escaping to an aquifer. LetsBanFracking.org is a NEW ballot initiative (beginning 4/12/13) which does NOT involve constitutional amendment.
Motown Voice March 26, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Hey, Ferndale 1986: I do. Walk to work. And heat with wood. Both. And I agree with Theresa. And your generalizing using someone's name as if its some kind of insult is juvenile and cheapens your point.
Haulin T Male April 05, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Haulin T Male April 05, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Haulin T Male April 05, 2013 at 04:19 PM
"PetCoke" The Pictures above were taken over the 4 day period of Easter, What you see is, The piles of Petcoke, from the river, from the gate, you see it piling higher at the curb area, the long street is Fort Street, get away to the down river, aon of the few trucks that were covered, (they were in a hurry, Get er done. I have a ton more, This came from Marathon oil, river rouge (?) stocked plie on the Detroit owned Docks, but leased out in what amounts to 5 or 6 degrees of leases, bottom line The COKE brothers, yes from the political Coke brothers, have the lease, it is being shipped to Nova scotia..... They started during the week , all the way through Easter sunday, 20+ trucks working 24/5, non stop, I tell you they were being paid Big Bucks, (premium pay) they didn't pay any attention to what was being done to the streets, Fort street is also one of the streets the Fans at the wings game are herded to expedite traffic .......... I was shocked to see what was happening , and no one would listen, then all of a sudden, Rep Gary Peters heard ans saw...... so did wjbk......... this lot is on the river , but needs to cross Fort street to get out. as I said if you go to the JOE for any thing most likely you are shown this way out.


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