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Ada Twp. Hall packed in fracking debate
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - It was standing room only at the Ada Township Hall on Monday night as the debate over fracking raged on.
In October, the state auctioned off the mineral rights to the majority of the state land in Kent County.
Now, state lawmakers, along with the DEQ and DNR hosted a town hall in Ada Township to try and ease ongoing concerns over the practice.
According to the Department of Natural Resources, once a drilling permit is requested, the state has 30 days to grant or deny the request.
As of now, the DNR says no permits have been requested in Kent County, but that provides little comfort to most people who spoke to Newschannel 3 on Monday night.
Two teachers from Forest Hills Central spoke to Newschannel 3, and expressed concerns with the volumes of water that would need to be used for the procedure, and the effects it could have.
Representatives from both the DEQ and DNR assured everyone that if water usage for fracking lowered the water table to the point that it affected public or private wells, the state would immediately order drillers to reduce or stop water consumption.
But there were also people at Monday night's meeting like Bill Lennon, who lives in Ada, and support Fracking.
Lennon said he's worked with a drilling company for about 15 years, and that he believes some people who don't support fracking simply don't understand it.
State reps were quick to point out that Michigan has some of the strictest rules for fracking, has never had a documented case of hydraulic fracking contaminating the environment, and holds all drilling companies responsible for 100 percent of the cost in the event of a spill.
In addition, they pointed out that oil and gas harvesting royalties have generated big money to improve state land.
"$935 million in grants the state has been able to give out?" asked concerned teacher Sue West. "I think it's a great money maker, but I'm not sure I like the environmental costs."
There will be another state mineral rights auction in May for Ionia County and points north.
Fracking isn't just an issue in Kent County either.
Last year, the state Department of Natural Resources auctioned off tens of thousands of acres of land in Barry and Allegan Counties to potentially be used for fracking.
Many are pushing for an injunction against the DNR to have them nullify the actions of the land.