"Let's be at the forefront of being environmentally responsible when we look at these energy issues. And let's do this in a way where we're working together."
The U-M-led research teams will draw on their findings for the second phase of the project, which will outline a range of environmental, economic, social and technological approaches to assist stakeholders in shaping hydraulic fracturing policies and practices in Michigan. The researchers will present their overall findings and policy recommendations in 2014.
Of particular interest is the increasing use of horizontal drilling, whereby drilling is conducted horizontally to expose the drill bore to more shale rock formation. In those cases where shale fracturing is required, water with added chemicals is injected into the reservoir rock at high pressure to cause the rock to fracture and open up for gas extraction.
"Hydraulic fracturing has been around for decades, but with horizontal drilling now coming into play, people are increasingly questioning and scrutinizing the risks involved," said Andrew Maynard, professor of environmental health sciences and director of U-M's Risk Science Center.
"Areas of concern include perceived lack of transparency, potential chemical contamination, water availability, waste water disposal, and impacts on ecosystems, human health and surrounding areas."
Callewaert said there are currently only a small number of active drilling sites in Michigan that use high-volume horizontal drilling in conjunction with hydraulic fracturing.
"There's a lot of interest, but there really isn't that much activity at the moment in Michigan," he said. "That's why this is a good time to do the assessment."
One of the stakeholder
|Contact: Jim Erickson|
University of Michigan