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U-M Researchers, including MLaw Lecturer Sara Gosman, Release Reports on Hydraulic Fracturing

Sept. 6, 2013

ANN ARBOR—University of Michigan researchers—including Sara Gosman, a lecturer at Michigan Law—have released seven technical reports that together form the most comprehensive Michigan-focused resource on hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas and oil extraction process commonly known as fracking.

The studies, totaling nearly 200 pages, examine seven critical topics related to the use of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan, with an emphasis on high-volume methods: technology, geology and hydrogeology, environment and ecology, public health, policy and law, economics, and public perceptions.

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While considerable natural gas reserves are believed to exist in the state and high-volume hydraulic fracturing has the potential to help access them, possible impacts to the environment and to public health must be addressed, the U-M researchers concluded.

Though modern high-volume hydraulic fracturing is not widely used in Michigan today, a main premise of the U-M study is that the technique could become more widespread due to a desire for job creation, economic growth, energy independence, and cleaner fuels.

"There's a lot of interest in high-volume hydraulic fracturing, but there really isn't much activity at the moment in Michigan," said John Callewaert, project director and director of integrated assessment at U-M's Graham Sustainability Institute, which is overseeing the project. "That's why now is a good time to do this assessment."

Read a longer version of this story by Jim Erickson, U-M News Service.

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