Michigan is home to about 12,000 wells. The advent of horizontal fracking in recent years allows drilling companies to access deposits up to 10,000 feet deep, and requires significantly more water than vertical well drilling, up to 20 million gallons or more.
According to the Department of Environmental Quality, water withdrawal for oil and gas operations is exempt from Michigan’s water withdrawal statute requirements.
Michigan has limited checks on water usage at wells: companies are required to use an online tool to evaluate a site’s water needs before the state approves the request.
State law also requires that companies share information about the chemicals utilized (though some chemicals can be hidden as “trade secrets,” a controversial loophole the oil and gas industry often uses) and report on flowback water, a mix of water and chemicals that surface after fracking.
Did You Know?
Anti-fracking groups have launched a third push for a moratorium on fracking in Michigan and hope to gain enough signatures to qualify the ban for the November 2016 ballot.
Last Updated: September 29, 2015
The Fracked Fact Quiz
For More Information:
- University of Michigan, Graham Sustainability Institute: Hydraulic Fracturing in Michigan Integrated Assessment
- Company continues to mine sand in critical dune area along Lake Michigan (Michigan Radio)
The Fraccidents Map:
High profile incidents ("fraccidents") related to the country's oil and gas drilling boom have occurred in and around Michigan. Click on each fraccident to learn more: