DNR auction of mineral rights leases of state-owned land parcels.
LANSING, Mich. (WZZM) - Several pieces of land that could be used for the fracking process were leased to the highest bidder Wednesday in Lansing -- and the auction included parcels of land in West Michigan.
"Fracking" involves injecting water and chemicals into the ground. The pressurized liquid fractures the buried shale and creates a flow of oil or natural gas.
There are 195,000 acres of state-owned land in 22 counties up for lease. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is offering the rights to minerals below the surface.
Many fear the parcels and several others in 22 Michigan counties, could be used for fracking. Outside the Lansing Center, a non-profit group from Barry County says it filed a lawsuit asking the courts to nullify the leases from the auction.
"These are quality of life issues," says Steve Losher. "They're nuisance issues. You're taking land, air, water pollution, noise pollution. We live in those communities.
Losher says in fracking, when the "water is withdrawn, it's contaminated with chemicals needed to frack the well."
Fracking is already going on in Michigan and other states. The resource-extracting process has helped drive the cost of natural gas down dramatically.
Representatives with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality say the state has regulations in place to limit or prevent problems in the fracking process, including rules on the proper disposal of contaminated water.
Workers with the Department of Natural Resources say they have specified pieces of land that can't be drilled on. That's the case with parcels of land up for lease at the Cannonsburg State Game Area in Ada Township.
While drilling would not be allowed on the specified property, there are no ways to prevent someone who owns private property adjacent to the leased parcel from allowing developers to drill from their land to the resources under the game area.
The auction brought in just under $3 million for the state. It will go to the State Parks Endowment Fund.