1 U-M researchers recently released seven technical reports that together form the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.
While considerable natural gas reserves are believed to exist in the state and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has the potential to help access them, possible impacts to the environment and to public health must be addressed, the U-M researchers concluded.
The seven documents—which should not be characterized or cited as final products of the integrated assessment—provide a solid informational foundation for the project's next phase, an analysis of various hydraulic fracturing policy options. That analysis is expected to be completed in mid-2014 and will be shared with government officials, industry experts, other academics, advocacy groups and the general public.
Professor Knute Nadelhoffer, director of the U-M Biological Station was a coauthor of the report on environment/ecology. Here is the conclusion of this report: Potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment are significant and include increased erosion and sedimentation, increased risk of aquatic contamination from chemical spills or equipment runoff, habitat fragmentation and resulting impacts on aquatic and terrestrial organisms, loss of stream riparian zones, and reduction of surface waters available to plants and animals due to the lowering of groundwater levels.
The news was widely covered in the local media including by Michigan Radio, WJR, Crain’s Detroit Business, The Detroit News, and more.
Detroit Free Press article, http://www.freep.com/article/20130905/NEWS06/309050133/U-M-reports-says-fracking-could-create-jobs-in-Michigan-but-also-poses-hazards
U-M News Service press release http://www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/21666-u-m-technical-reports-examine-hydraulic-fracturing-in-michigan