Fracking in our backyard to be discussed Monday in Rockford

By Daily News • Last Updated 10:19 am on Thursday, March 21, 2013

ROCKFORD — Do you know what “fracking” is?

Three local organizations are sponsoring a community educational event at 6:30 pm on Monday at Rockford High School regarding hydraulic fracturing, which is an industrial oil and gas extraction technique commonly known as fracking.

Citizens for Responsible Resource Management (CRRM), Kent County Water Conservation (KCWC), and Mutual Aid of Grand Rapids (MAGR) have invited Maryann Lesert to provide an informative and engaging presentation to explain the process of fracking as well as to provide insight into the various ways in which the industrial process will impact local communities.

Hydraulic fracturing has become a controversial topic around the globe, with increasing debate in the regions that have been most affected. In the US, these areas include Pennsylvania, New York, Texas, Wyoming and Colorado. With recent technology advances, natural gas throughout the state of Michigan can now be extracted by means of high volume, high pressure, horizontal hydraulic fracturing. This extraction technique has been criticized by environmental organizations ( and elected officials ( for health impacts including contamination to drinking water, toxic air pollution, release of naturally occurring radioactive materials, and the onset of earthquakes by destabilization of shale rock formations.

This past October, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources introduced this controversial issue in Kent County by leasing public land for oil and gas industrialization. Locations include coveted areas along the Rogue River, within Cannonsburg State Game Area, and throughout the White Pine Trail. Some elected officials in Michigan have commented that the oil and gas extraction process is safe and a benefit for creating jobs and generating revenue for the state. However, most constituents, as well as many elected officials, do not fully understand what hydraulic fracturing is nor are they familiar with the entire industrial process.

The community forum is open to the public and intended for all audiences. Maryann Lesert, an associate professor at Grand Rapids Community College, provides a welcoming opportunity for community members to become acquainted with the process of hydraulic fracturing. Members of CRRM, KCWC, and MAGR will be available following the presentation to answer additional questions and to provide further information on getting involved.

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