“We had 240 people at our last seminar and it lasted two and a half hours,” Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Director Mark Knudsen said. “A vast majority wanted more information.”
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality explains that fracking is a process that maximizes the output of natural gas and oil wells to make them productive. When a well is fractured, an operator pumps a mixture of water, sand and a small amount of chemicals into an oil or gas formation. The pressure fractures rock layers, releasing oil or gas reserves, and the sand holds the fractures open to continue allowing the oil or gas to flow into the well.
To continue to help people better understand this process, the county will host a three-part educational series in the main conference room of its Fillmore Street Complex this month and next. Subjects to be covered include: hydraulic fracturing overview; geology and fracturing; fluids and flowback; current fracking activity in Michigan; permitting, regulations and violations; health and environmental concerns; the "Gasland" movie and its applicability to Michigan; lawsuits; and newly proposed rules and legislation.
“Based on the questions at the previous one, they focused on those (different) topics,” Knudsen said.
Each session will include a variety of speakers who will provide information about the topics at hand.
“We selected people that could provide factual, informative information from questions we’re hearing from citizens,” Knudsen said.
The first session in the series is next week. “Hydraulic Fracturing — A Panel Discussion” is set for 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 18.Individuals interested in attending the sessions may register online at miottawa.org/Departments/Planning/fracking.htm, or by contacting the Ottawa County Planning & Performance Improvement Department by phone at 616-738-4852 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Reservations are encouraged.