What the frick is fracking? Watch documentary 'Gasland' March 29 to find out more
What the frick is "fracking"? A very cool-sounding word. A way uncool and ungreen activity.
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, an environmentally dangerous way to drill for natural gas. Basically, gas extraction companies drill deep then wide into underground shale. They force millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals into the well to break up the shale and release the gas.
In Michigan, those companies are leasing mineral rights to thousands of acres of state-owned land — and leasing thousands more from private owners, some at incredibly high prices. And, yes, they're planning to frack it.
GASLAND, 6 p.m. March 29, at UMMA's Helmut Stern Auditorium
Because in other parts of the country, fracking has been associated with a number of public and environmental threats, including earthquakes in Arkansas, flammable tap water and radioactive discharge into rivers. In Pennsylvania, which has about 71,000 active gas wells, The New York Times tracked the wastewater troubles.
Though some say this natural gas rush could provide us with cheap, abundant power and heat for the next century or more, it may not be worth endangering public and environmental health. Supporters point out that fracking and natural gas are better than building a coal-processing plant. It's nowhere near as environmentally safe as solar-, wind- or hydroelectric-generated energy.
But it's coming in a big way to our state. We have one well now. More are imminent. So come learn more at our screening of GASLAND March 29. This multiple award-winning movie, an Academy Award nominee, details the adverse effects that under- or unregulated natural gas extraction has wrought across the country.
Stick around after the film to hear a panel of hydrofracking experts discuss how the issues pertain to Michigan. Bring your questions for a Q&A that follows.
Tickets are free to this event:
- GASLAND screening, discussion and Q&A
- 6-8:30 p.m., March 29
- Helmut Stern Auditorium, U-M Museum of Art
To get your complimentary tickets or more information, please contact the Ann Arbor office of Clean Water Action, 205Â½ N. Main, 734-222-6347, Fran Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org, or me at email@example.com.
We still have several open sponsor spots for elected officials who'd like to add their names to this effort. City Councilmember Sandi Smith has already signed up and invites her colleagues to join her. Sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- NYT: Drilling Down
- The Diane Rehm Show: "Drilling for Natural Gas: Rewards and Risks"
- Clean Water Action: national site, state site