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Judge dismisses suit



Published: Sun, September 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Judge dismisses suit

HASTINGS, MICH.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by opponents of oil and gas drilling on state land in western Michigan, saying the challenge to possible fracking came too early.

The “mere act” of the state approving leases doesn’t mean there’s an imminent threat to the environment, said Barry County Circuit Judge Amy McDowell.

A group called Michigan Air Land Water Defense argued that the Department of Natural Resources first needs to assess the impact of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It involves pumping water, sand and chemicals underground to break open shale rock and release natural gas. The lawsuit mentions leases in the Allegan State Game Area, the Barry State Game Reserve and Yankee Springs Parks and Recreation Area. McDowell said lease holders are not close to moving into a drilling stage.

No ban on ballot

ATHENS

The Athens County Board of Elections unanimously voted in August to not allow a proposed oil and gas extraction ban in the city of Athens on the November ballot.

In early August, local attorney Robert Rittenhouse filed a protest with the elections board against a proposed ballot initiative that would have attempted to ban fracking and associated practices within the city of Athens and its jurisdiction. The initiative was proposed by the Athens Community Bill of Rights Committee. Those responsible for circulation petitions said they will appeal the decision.

Plan for plant OK’d

WHEELING, W. VA.

Wheeling planners have approved GreenHunter Water’s plan to build a plant that will recycle wastewater from natural-gas drilling. GreenHunter Water plans to begin construction once it receives building permits for the project. The company expects to receive the permits soon.

The plant will recycle wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. It will be located off W.Va. Route 2.


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