Michigan lawmakers are working on a set of new rules regarding the hydraulic fracturing technique for extracting natural gas, also known as fracking, the state's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) said.
DEQ director Dan Wyant explained that the new rules will aim to ensure Michigan's fresh water supplies are protected and that the public will have access to information about drilling operations. He pointed out that while there cannot be a 100-percent guarantee that no damage will occur, Michigan is taking all the necessary measures to prevent harm to the environment.
Under the new regulation, drilling companies will have to utilize a computer system that is run by the state. It will monitor whether companies use water in a way that does not threaten water reserves, such as rivers and streams. In addition, fracking companies will have to disclose the chemicals they use in their fracking fluids.
The rules will be presented for a public consultation, after which DEQ experts are expected to take up to nine months to finalize the rules and put them in place, Wyant added.
More than 12,000 wells have been drilled in the state since 1952, with no record of contaminated groundwater incidents. Michigan has an excellent fracking safety record but authorities will be implementing more precautionary measures to address issues raised by environmental groups, the DEQ said.