We, Nopaxton.com, are a growing group of Lodi and Saline residents that are concerned about the impact that oil and gas drilling and associated operations may have on our land and environment. Those who live here appreciate the natural beauty, clean water and air, and relative peace and quiet, and want to keep it that way. Based on substantial freely and publicly available information, it is clear that exploitation of oil, gas, and other mineral resources under our land may result in a variety of unintended, unwelcome side-effects, and we do not intend to allow that to happen.

If you live in Lodi or Saline and have been approached by a company calling itself Paxton Resources, or are concerned about potential side-effects of oil and gas drilling on your or your neighbors properties and want to learn more, please contact us at: nopaxton at gmail dot com

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ban Michigan Fracking asks Michigan DEQ to treat frack wells as injection wells

For more information, contact:
Ellis Boal 231-547-2626

Charlevoix--On April 27, 2012, Ban Michigan Fracking, together with Deanna Hughes and Heather Schiele, filed a request for a declaratory ruling with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) director Dan Wyant, asking the agency to treat frack wells statewide as injection wells, and to suspend issuing frack permits while it decides the petition.

The petition notes the gas industry agrees a frack well is an injection well, so the DEQ should too.

A ruling would mean applicants for frack wells would have to provide data, among other things, about the chemical analysis of the types of fluids to be injected.  The data would have to be provided at the time of the application so nearby landowners can do efficient baseline water testing before drilling commences.

Hughes and Schiele live in Sherman Township, Gladwin County, where Devon Energy is about to start horizontal fracking in the A-1Carbonate layer, a bit shallower than Utica-Collingwood.

Landowners and residents nearby to other frack wells are welcome to join the request.

Copies of this and additional case documents are on the website of Ban Michigan Fracking

Monday, April 23, 2012

Irish Hills Ruined By Oil Wells

There have been 42+ oil/gas wells completed by West Bay Exploration in the Norvell Township/Irish Hills, over the last two years.  Many of the residents are not happy about how their area has been ruined by the industrial development.  A few of them attended the meeting held in Saline by State Representative Mark Ouimet on April 18.  In talking with one of them, it was unsettling to hear that the oil company will soon, if not already, be drilling horizontally under Wamplers Lake. There's an oil/gas well not more than 400 or 500 yards from the edge of the lake. The reality is that communities, dependent on an environment shared by all, is under siege by companies with an interest in what lies underneath their land.

Other examples of what's happening in the Irish Hills include hearing what sounds like a jet turbine at night; hearing about a neighbor's two-year old child developing asthma; and seeing dead fish floating in Wamplers Lake-- one fish having died in the midst of devouring another. 

And then there's the story of a health care professional, who lives in a neighboring town who has endured endless frustration and shame while pleading with the DEQ and the oil/gas company to listen to her distress at not having windows open in the summer, or sitting out on the porch on a summer's evening; at witnessing her horses struggle with impaired lung disorder; at consolling her friend when she lost all her goats; or watching her friend's health deteriorate with chronic nose bleeds and a breathing disorder; at knowing that no one will buy her home if she decides she can no longer live on the land she loves. And it doesn't help the value of her home when eight wells surround it.  

It was hydrogen sulfide emissions from the hydraulic fracked Kelly Well, #60212 HD-1, in Hillsdale County, (completed in 2006) that caused the living hell. Two residences were directly affected, due to the wind blowing in the direction of the homes. Continental Resources, Inc. nor the DEQ seemed too concerned until 2011, when the problem was fixed-- five years later.

These stories are real.   If you have signed an oil lease we hope you will make a serious commitment to terminating the agreement with Paxton.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fracking meeting in Irish Hills provides another side to the 'imperfect process' of drilling in Michigan

A message delivered by environmental expert Christopher Grobbel, president of Grobbel Environmental and Planning Associates, to Jackson County citizens is a universal one: energy recovery is an imperfect process destined to cause problems.  To see the article in the Heritage Newspaper please see  Fracking meeting in Irish Hills provides another side to the 'imperfect process' of drilling in Michigan

Members of No Paxton attended the April 5 meeting in the Irish Hills.  For more info please see our post Recap of April 5 Meeting In Brooklyn

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wed. April 18, 2012 Town Hall Meeting

State Rep. Mark Ouimet is sponsoring a special town hall meeting on Wednesday, April 18 ifrom 6pm to 7:30pm at LIberty School in Saline to allow local residents to learn more about ongoing oil and gas drilling in Washtenaw County and the surrounding areas.  For the full details see Mark Ouimet Sponsors Town Hall Meeting  The meeting agenda is as follows:
  • Mitch Rohde, Founder of No Paxton, 5 minutes
  • Hal Fitch, Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality, 30 minutes  
  • Paxton Resources Representative, 5 minutes
  • Question and Answer session, 60 minutes (Written questions may be submitted for the speakers)

Recap of April 5 Meeting in Brooklyn

This post has been updated to include a link to the Powerpoint slides presented by Dr. Chris Grobbel. (scroll down, it is the first item in the list)

Members of NoPaxton attended a meeting in Brooklyn on April 5 where local citizens expressed their concerns over two proposed deep injection wells in Norvell Township.  These wells are proposed by the oil companies for storing toxic waste related to local drilling efforts.  This was the 3rd meeting held on this topic.  It was jam packed with good information but very scary information. 

Chris Grobbel  of Grobbel Environmental was brought in  to speak at the meeting.  Chris is a Phd, teaches at MSU and has worked for the DEQ and in other oil and gas industry concerns in the past. He has quit working for the oil industry and now consults on the side of the environment and teaches. 

In his past career with the DEQ Chris wore a haz-mat suit and participated in cleaning up oil spills.  He has alot of insider information on the DEQ and confirmed some rumors we have heard regarding the DEQ in the past.  Now we know these rumors to be true, Chris confirmed them with dates and facts.  A video recording of his slides will be available soon at Ban Michigan Fracking

The main points we took from the meeting include:

1)  The DEQ keeps saying that 'none of the thousands of wells that have been fracked or drilled for oil have any record of contaminating water or leaking'. We all know this is not true.   Chris gave evidence for that. The DEQ only monitors wellheads and officially they quit doing this in 1995 (that's when they deleted their database called the SAPP list which kept records on contamination. The truth of the matter is that the spills/leaks don't happen at the wellhead. They happen due to human error, from hauling oil/waste, from pipelines and spills on site when someone fills a tanker and leaves a valve open. In reality the number is probably in the thousands. He helped clean up some of them, and he provided expert opinions (for the property owners) in cases where there were spills and  leaks and the DEQ wasn't cleaning it up. He even showed the names of some of the cases. Some cases he couldn't name (due to legal restrictions) but he described the situations.   Some were so bad people had to abandon their homes. 

2) In 2001 there was a study done by Alliance for Great Lakes on 3000 sites in Michigan. There were 200 contaminations from those 3000 sites. Out of the 200, 25% contaminated drinking water, 2% were attempted cleanups, 21% had no action and 0% were fully remediated (we believe the rest were unknown outcomes).

3) There is an internal (non public) list of contaminations the DEQ keeps (since deleting their DB in 1995) and it is purported to have 700 sites with  contamination.  If you extrapolate from the data in, today there are 28,000 wells in Michigan so we could have 1800 contaminated sites from those 28,000 wells.
4) Now the only way to determine how many and where there are contaminated sites is via a FOIA (freedom of information act) request and you have to know  what your looking for.
5)  The OOMG (Office of Oil Gas & Minerals - part of DEQ). does some cleanup and they are known to do the 'wet finger' test.  They figure out which way the wind is blowing and they sniff the air (no  kidding). Rarely, do they do the proper type of soil sampling to see if they've done a job properly. Chris cited one legal case he got involved in where he went to check a site (that was supposedly cleaned-up) and there was crude oil leaking out of the ground and into a stream.  He shared these examples of oil spills in Michigan with us:

  • Example #1 - 'Hayes 22 Central Production' site example (Gaylord) there were 60 separate events of release of contamination. 3 landowners had to have their drinking water wells closed. A computer model of the contamination showed it would take 20-30 years to clean it up. I think these were the homeowners he cited that got into a lawsuit and had their houses bought by the oil company because they couldn't live in them or sell them to anyone.
  • Example #2 - Most of the time the leaks are discovered by landowners, hunters or snowmobilers. Snowmobiler finds brine leaking, it's described by the DEQ as 40 gallons (they don't have to report less than 41 gallons). In reality it was over 400 (it was melting a huge swath of snow).
  • Example #3 - Dairy farmer has a leak on his property. They discover crude leaking on the surface and benzene in the creek.

That harmless brine that the DEQ refers to often... Chris showed a slide of all the chemicals in the brine and it covered the screen. Its' not  Morton salt.  Basically, don't trust the regulator!  (his actual words)

All fracking is not the same. Most of the older wells that have been fracked up north, in Antrim shale, are shallow. Much less risky than what's being done in the main target layer now (the Utica/Collingwood shale layer). The fracking being done in Utica/Collingwood is much deeper, therefore more toxic fluids (millions of gallons) and more opportunity for spills and leaks (it's human error afterall that's the main culprit). Up north only 3 wells are fracked in deep Utica/Collingwood layer. This is the deep hydro-fracking that really has everyone concerned.

Deep, high pressure hydro-fracking wells are not regulated like deep injection wells. They are treated like a conventional oil well. They should (presumably) be treated with the same regulation as an injection well since they are under the same sorts of stress (pressures and volumes).

There is no fracking in this area yet but the oil wells in the Irish hills area could easily be converted into fracking wells (they are in the right layer). The only thing that stops the oil companies from doing this is the price of natural gas and a deep injection well (to get rid of the millions of gallons of contaminated water they will create). Once they're done with the oil, and the price of natural gas goes up, fracking will probably begin.

Deep injection wells are proposed by applicant (oil developer), approved by DEQ and then the EPA. When the DEQ has a public 'hearing' on deep injection well proposal they only listen, give no response, and then they go away and make their ruling.

They were proposing two injection wells for toxic waste store in Norvell. Norvell township supervisor discovered after calling DEQ that now they are proposing 3. He also discovered that the DEQ had already approved them (when he told the audience this at the meeting there was a gasp). People were extremely alarmed to discover that the DEQ had approved the wells before the EPA had their public hearing.

Injection wells are typically class I or class II. Class I is most toxic. Michigan has 1500 class II but only 7 class I. A class II can be converted into a class I.

Grobbel cited 2 cases where public hearings on deep injection wells had gone in favor of the public (denying the applicant/oil company) and he said that the best tactic to use is to get people to go to the meeting and speak and write to disapprove (fill the room with people). These were in Alba and Kingsley (although Kingsley was ruling by judge and a strange one).

Mayfield Township in Traverse City has created effective zoning ordinances to keep oil developers out. But it's very tricky and needs to be part of the master plan.   Dr. Grobbels' slides have been posted on the Resources page of Ban Michigan Fracking.

Saline halts wholesale water sales as concerns surface over oil drilling

The city of saline, which has previously sold water to Paxton Resources to enable their oil drilling operations in Saline Township, has placed a temporary moratorium on water sales to external organizaitons.  For the full details please see City of Saline Halts Water Sales Over Drilling Concerns

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lodi Township Needs to Stand Up

Over the past few months, neighbors have been approaching the Lodi Township Board of Trustees about the potential threats and problems related to oil and gas exploration activities in the area. Initially,  the Board's reaction was that we are all protected, as this activity was subject to regulation under their current mining ordinances.

Given the special nature of the oil and gas activities, and the current State statute that directly tries to take the ability to regulate out of the hands of the municipalities, this is likely not the case, as Supervisor Godek admits in the attached mailing -- see  Lodi Township March 2012 Newsletter to read.  For best viewing click on Full Screen.

Unfortunately, the Supervisor seems to say that there is no hope in terms of regulating these activities. We respectfully disagree, and communities around the county are showing that they will and can protect the local population and environment though State law would seem to try to restrict them otherwise. We would suggest that it is time for Lodi to pass an ordinance like the one that is on the books in the City of Ann Arbor, or in Middlefield, NY, or in Dryden, NY, or look to the County or specialized legal expertise for additional guidance and assistance. It is time for the Lodi leadership to stand up and protect us. It is time for the Lodi leadership to protect our well, our air, our roads, our homes, and our property. It is time for Lodi leadership to stand up and fight!

This issue is far more important then a few chickens in someone's backyard....     And if your dog is against oil drilling then this is for him/her:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Announcing the No Paxton Zazzle Store

If you would like to show your support for No Paxton and let others know how you feel about oil drilling in our area  please check out our Tell Paxton No Zazzle Store  Below are a few products that we have recently designed.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Saline Township Planning Meeting Tuesday April 3 at 7:30pm

Welcome to the new members from Saline Township who have recently joined No Paxton.    We'd like to make everyone aware of the Saline Township Planning Commission meeting.  It would be a good place to voice your concerns over the oil drilling that has the potential to ruin our quality of life in Saline and Lodi townships.  

As you may be aware many of the Saline Township board members have signed oil leases with Paxton Resources so they are very supportive of Paxton and have made it very easy for Paxton to operate in Saline Township.  Unfortunately, Lodi Township shares a border with Saline Township.   The members of No Paxton are very upset with the leniency of Saline Township when it comes to oil wells.

Today No Paxton obtained copies of these well permit applications for proposed wells in Saline Township by Paxton Resources.  It is our understanding that both of these wells will be in the Macon Rd. area.  If you click on the images below they will be more readable.

So if you are against these oil wells as much as we are then please attend and voice your concerns to the Saline Township Planning Commission.

Saline Township Planning Commission Meeting
Tuesday April 3, 2012 at  7:30PM

Saline Township Hall
5731 Braun Road
Saline MI, 48176