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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Michigan Report Analyzes Policy Options for Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan

University of Michigan researchers released a detailed draft analysis of policy options for hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.

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[Photo: Dr. Diana Bowman]

The draft final report of the U-M Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment consists of seven chapters totaling more than 270 pages. Its key contribution is an analysis of Michigan-specific options in the areas of public participation, water resources and chemical use related to high-volume hydraulic fracturing.

The options discussed in the report include more extensive requirements for information about chemical use and water quality, possibly including the full disclosure to state officials of all chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, new ways to manage the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing wells in Michigan, additional options for water-quality monitoring, and requiring hydraulic fracturing well operators to prepare emergency response plans before drilling begins.

“This report does not advocate for recommended courses of action. Rather, it presents information about the likely strengths, weaknesses and outcomes of various courses of action to support informed decision making,” said Dr. John Callewaert, integrated assessment director at U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute, which is overseeing the project.

The draft report was written by U-M faculty researchers, including the School of Public Health’s Dr. Diana Bowman, an associate professor of health management and policy and the Risk Science Center, with support from students and Graham Sustainability Institute staff members. It is the main product of the integrated assessment’s second phase.

High-volume hydraulic fracturing in Michigan is limited today, the U-M study takes into account the possibility that it could become more widespread due to a desire for job creation, economic growth, energy independence, and lower-carbon fuels.

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