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Posted on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 12:34 p.m.

Fracking is a dangerous proposition for Michigan that could poison our water

By Letters to the Editor

You recently published an article on fracking in Washtenaw County, basically in Saline.

It seems to me that fracking in a part of the state that is known for radon is a dangerous proposition. Radon is radioactive and having it spread into the water via fracking cannot be good for people’s health.

In addition, at a time when water is scarce in some parts of the country, to the point that some states want to import water from our Great Lakes (a bad idea in my humble opinion), it is unwise to pollute what water there is. Why would you want to take a resource without which man can live for only three days and make it undrinkable?

It’s also stupid when you think about all that’s been done to bring Lake Erie back from the brink of extinction - not to mention the fight against invasive species such as zebra mussels and Chinese carp throughout the Great Lakes - to add new pollution to replace the pollution we’ve managed to remove at great expense and effort!

Cats and dogs don’t pee on their own turf. To me, that’s what fracking would be. Let’s not poison the water we drink.

Sandy Schopbach
Ann Arbor



Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 5:56 p.m.

As a geologist I find all of this very amusing. While there are risks associated with fracking they are not any more dangerous than those associated with conventional drilling and extraction. If you want to get bent out of shape about the petroleum industry look to your neighborhood retail gasoline station. The risk to potable drinking water sources from leaking underground storage tank (LUST) sites is far greater than the risk posed by fracking. What you should be concerned about is the total lack of enforcement by Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality. There are strict timelines and regulations regarding reporting, assessment, cleanup, and closure of LUST sites that are completely disregarded by the industry because the DEQ has no staff to followup. Further, fracking occurs thousands of feet deeper than potable wells are drilled. We drill potable wells 100', 200' or possibly 300' at the deepest. Why? For two reasons, the main being it is far too expensive to drill deeper than that and typically as you go deeper groundwater tends to become saline and is not potable. I will not even address the non-issue of radon.


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

"Radon is radioactive and having it spread into the water via fracking cannot be good for people's health." I think you need to do a little more reading on the subject. I'll keep it at that.


Sun, Jun 24, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

You need only to read the following post! I'LL leave it at that!


Tue, Jun 19, 2012 : 11 a.m.

The histrionics are set at max Captain Sandy. I cann't give ya any more hyperbole!.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

"Cats and dogs don't pee on their own turf." Don't they mark their territory?


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

Sandy, your argument would be better supported if you provided readers with credible facts to substantiate your claims. A well-written editorial is supported by facts that are used to persuade an audience and offer a call to action. Your editorial is void of facts and uses an appeal to emotion fallacy to inappropriately change the minds of readers. This appeal to emotion will likely cause a reader with an opposing viewpoint to disregard your argument or scare someone into believing that fracking is evil. However, if the latter discovers credible facts that show fracking is not a bad thing, the person is likely going to no longer believe your claim because it was void of information. Even if a logical fallacy is initially successful for some, it can be quickly discredited by opposing views that provide factual evidence. If you want to demonstrate that fracking is bad, then you should conduct research and gather facts to prove your claim. Logical fallacies are becomming too mainstream in our society, and more people are waking up to their ability to quickly discredit the person using them. An explination of logical fallacies can be found on the Nizkor Project website at


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Also, I was simply indicating that if Sandy had provided more facts and credible resources regarding her claims, more people might take her seriously. Writing an opinion piece with no supporting evidence is simply one's opinion--and we know how everyone has an opinion. If she would like to persuade readers she should offer convincing evidence and a call for action. I did not indicate that I didn't support her opinion, not did I write that I supported it.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

"But the idea stressed by fracking critics that deep-injected fluids will migrate into groundwater is mostly false. Basic geology prevents such contamination from starting below ground. A fracture caused by the drilling process would have to extend through the several thousand feet of rock that separate deep shale gas deposits from freshwater aquifers. According to geologist Gary Lash of the State University of New York at Fredonia, the intervening layers of rock have distinct mechanical properties that would prevent the fissures from expanding a mile or more toward the surface. It would be like stacking a dozen bricks on top of each other, he says, and expecting a crack in the bottom brick to extend all the way to the top one. What's more, the fracking fluid itself, thickened with additives, is too dense to ascend upward through such a channel." "It's an iconic image, captured in the 2010 Academy Award—nominated documentary GasLand. A Colorado man holds a flame to his kitchen faucet and turns on the water. The pipes rattle and hiss, and suddenly a ball of fire erupts. It appears a damning indictment of the gas drilling nearby. But Colorado officials determined the gas wells weren't to blame; instead, the homeowner's own water well had been drilled into a naturally occurring pocket of methane." These are some quotes I took out of an article written by Seamus Mcgraw with Popular Mechanics. However, to be fair, the article also references instances where some incidents have occured involving this fracking type operation.There are two sides to this story indeed. In addition, the article is referenceing Marcellus Shale, and it might be possible that Michigan Geology is different. It definately warrants more research from credible sources. Read more: Is Fracking Safe? The Top 10 Myths About Natural Gas Drilling - Popular Mechanics


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 7:36 p.m.

Where is you evidence that fracking IS safe... for the long term. And that the industry will stand behind their "accident" without trying to weasel out of their promises and good intents like BP. All it takes is one "accident". What more people have awakened to is being bullied by those who find it easier to discredit someone by saying they have no facts when you and the fracking industry provide little information on the chemicals they use or how they are stored. Where's your supporting evidence? Who paid for the study?


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 6 p.m.

I would also like to point out that sources like YouTube are questionable. While YouTube is full on beneficial information, anyone can post a video to it. Who is posting the video? Does the poster have some type of bias? The same is true for websites. Who owns the website? What kind of bias does the website have regarding the subject? Is the website providing an impartial opinion, or is it developed to promote the agenda of an organization? When conducting research, one should look for credible sources that offer an impartial opinion. The research should also be void of logical fallacies. References that show both sides of an argument are also very helpful. Please use care when conducting research so you can deliver a professional and credible argument to your target audience.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:24 p.m.

We don't know enough about our planet to make short term decisions about which we have little idea of the long term consequences. Fracking requires millions of gallons of fresh water which then becomes toxic waste water. Where does the fresh water come from? Uh, Maybe from the Great Lakes? Where does the waste water go? Where is it stored? It will leak and it will leak above ground or into our water. Do you want to own property next to a fracking operation? What happens to property values located near a fracking operation? Without knowing the long term implications? Do you think that the Fossil fuel industry will treat people fairly after the "accidents" happen? Has everyone forgotten the BP oil LEAK in the Gulf?

Terrin Bell

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Fracking is a valid concern. Essentially fracking involves forcing water, sand, and toxic chemicals into the ground using high pressure. This is to break up rock formations to allow gas and oil to follow the channel upwards to the surface. Problem is the high pressure often times infiltrates water wells, and the toxic chemicals make there way into the water system. Here is a you tube video showing some of the danger: Here some resources to look at:


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Is the YouTube video you posted on here from a movie called "Gas Land"? If so, I found this information in a Popular Mechanics article: "It's an iconic image, captured in the 2010 Academy Award—nominated documentary GasLand. A Colorado man holds a flame to his kitchen faucet and turns on the water. The pipes rattle and hiss, and suddenly a ball of fire erupts. It appears a damning indictment of the gas drilling nearby. But Colorado officials determined the gas wells weren't to blame; instead, the homeowner's own water well had been drilled into a naturally occurring pocket of methane." Read more: Is Fracking Safe? The Top 10 Myths About Natural Gas Drilling - Popular Mechanics


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Terrin, I've had an opportunity to review the YouTube video you posted. While the video is entertaining, I found it void of and factual statements or information supporting that fracking caused the issue. A multitude of reasons could explain why the fire flash over occured on video. It could be fracking, a gas leak, or someone could have even staged the video. I don't know the answer. Do you happen to know the person or organization that posted the video? Does the person or organization hold a bias against fracking? How credible is the person or poster? I have the same questions for the website you posted. Who is running the organization for How does the organization exist--who is funding it? Does the organization hold a bias? These are relevent questions that people should ask to determine the credibility of a source. Verifying the credibility of references/sources ensures that people aren't manipulated into believing something through a biased report, video, website, etc. I'm not necessarily saying that the sources are not accurate or credible, but I am suggesting that their credibility be determined. Do you have any information that can verify the credibility of these sources? From what obtained through the BBB ( , is registered to an organization that has a Washington D.C. mailing address. Is the organization a lobbyist? Do they have credible people providing them their information--i.e. scientists, envrionmental experts? How are they able to determine that fracking is bad?


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

The potential for disaster to the drinking water for millions and clean process water for industry is too great. The Great Lakes are far too valuable a GLOBAL resource to do anything to harm them. When given an inch, the Fossil fuel industry and their benefactors in government will take a mile. Just say NO


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Fracking has been happening in Michigan for decades. Mostly to release petroleum from rock formations. Horizontal drilling (a key part of Fracking) has been going on longer. To date in Michigan, there have been no accidents. Unlike many other states, we have and have had strong regulations on drilling. These have protected the environment for decades. In the late 1900s - early 20th century - People wanted to ban motor cars. Later airplanes. Some people want to ban cell phones, others want to restrict access to the internet. Almost everyone has a nightmare technology. If we are careful and provide good rules, in most cases the technology works the way is should. I am all in favor of reviewing the regulations in Michigan and amending them as needed to keep production of petroleum and gas a safe industry. Until the University of Michigan delivers a working Mr. Fusion, we will need other sources of energy to keep society moving and the people in it alive. We have too many people on the planet to quit oil and gas cold turkey.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 6:51 p.m.

I would love to see a Mr. Fusion as seen on a MIA Delorean....

Terrin Bell

Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Fracking rules in Michigan are not adequate and no better than anywhere else. There was an accident in Benzie County recently. Further, there are no regulations requiring drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use, which is odd since knowing that would seem to be critical for government response teams.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 4:52 p.m.

Sandy What credentials do you have to offer a opinion on such a complicated process. I understand you don't have to be a scientist geologist to offer an opinion but your opinion would carry a lot more weight if your were. Personally I know nothing about the subject.


Mon, Jun 18, 2012 : 7:28 p.m.

I have credentials: I lived with Gelman for years.