All posts by northland90

Studies at NMU, Junior Year. Degree: Environmental Studies and Sustainability Currently DNR Explorer Guide Former Charlie Guide for Northern Tier National High Adventure Base in BWCA and Quetico

Michigan Hydraulic Fracturing

The local impact on areas with hydraulic fracturing has been largely stifled across the U.S. mainly because mineral rights of the land and corporate law over people. What happens in Michigan is people own the land but not the rights to the oil & mineral content of their land. The DNR sells leasing rights to the oil & minerals and the DEQ gives license to those who purchased the lease. People all over MI are getting letters notifying residents that this is taking place and they can do nothing about it.  After working for the DNR I found this is a touchy issue because it directly negates their mission statement.

Summary of May 8, 2012 DNR oil & gas lease auction:

Sanilac County Permit:

If you look at these two differences in approach between DNR and DEQ they are suggesting that it is ok for the environment. However, they clearly state that because of the highly toxic chemicals used approximately 5,000,000 gallons of water is “injected into deep rock layers isolated from fresh water supplies” after their use i.e. will not enter the water cycle again for 100’s years if not more because the toxicity is so severe. The idea that this is an environmentally safe practice is a joke.

DNR site link on fracking

DEQ site link on fracking

A Reflection of Resource

ImageThe drive started, I found myself in a Dodge just outside of Chicago. My car, made in Michigan, with parts from who knows where, I thought as I began my drive towards Detroit. As I head in the direction of the highway there are farms scattered about the landscape. I wonder how many had anything to do with Monsanto or where the food grown there ends up.  Passing through small towns I noticed that there was a pavilion for a Farmers Market, in more than one of them.

I took the on ramp to merge onto the highway.  Very quickly I became one of hundreds of vehicles.  Counting only the cars that I can see with my naked eye I fathom each tank of gas each of these vehicles.  If each tanks size is about ten gallons, which judging by the size of some of these that maybe half the actual size, there are easily one thousand gallons of gas and that are just what’s in my immediate area.

As I continue to drive I can see steam and some sort of gas being spewed into the air. I wonder that was being dumped in the air or what those buildings were making.  When where they build? Was there forest or plains in this area before they were? What materials were used to build the structures? Were these mined? If they were how far where they transported before they found their way to the walls and lighting fixtures? Questions I ask myself seem to grow bigger and more distant.  Almost like a time line of the land and the materials assembled to make the buildings that currently reside on that land.

The longer I drive the size and quality of road varies. However, I have been on the same road for about four hours. There are hundreds of thousands of roads in the United States. How many resources does it take to make these roads? One difference I noticed was that there were toll ways in Illinois but in Michigan there are almost none. In Michigan the roads do not seem to have the same quality.  Perhaps the tolls help maintain quality which would mean it could be sustained for longer periods without pouring more capital into it. Though the oil consumption necessary for transportation will get to a point where these highways may become a luxury only available for the super-rich whom can consume the expensive gas.

The End of the 3,000 Mile Beer?

With energy resources becoming the global concern that it is, will beer disappear? First I will answer that with a NO. However, it will be more likely that the beer I drink may be a home brew as opposed to a Molson, Coors, or PBR.

I give you this scenario for globalized worlds need to become local. The reason I pose the need for localization aligning with the effect on beer, because what would the world be without beer.

The way things typically work in the mass production of beer vary but putting things generically will give perspective. Central brewing locations import ingredients. These ingredients are grown typically in a monoculture setting using pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers; all of which are distributed with petrol driven machines. Shipping these ingredients trucks, or in some cases planes, are used both using petrol as fuel. Once in the brewing location, energy is used to brew and package the beer; likely this will be from coal or natural gas power. After the final product is created it is shipped by the same means ingredients are imported.  Once in the store it is purchased by the consumer. This excludes the employees who drive vehicles to get to work along the entire scenario.

This look is meant to give an idea about how much oil goes into a bottle or can of beer. The entire world supply of oil can fit into green bay, and half is gone. With the diminishing supplies prices will rise and the price of draft may increase forever.

Being local cuts back hugely on the amount of petroleum used and stimulate local economy. I say start a home-brew revolution, support your local brewers. Nothing brings a community together like enjoying a cold mug of brew with friends, made in your own neighborhood.


My local brewery in Marquette, Michigan

Blackrocks –