Environment
10:12 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Critics leery of possible fracking downstate

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP)--   A judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to prevent oil and gas drilling on state land in western Michigan, saying the challenge is premature. 

Barry County Judge Amy McDowell says the "mere act" of approving leases doesn't mean there's an imminent threat to the environment. She says lease holders still would need to apply to the state if they want to drill.

MLive.com says critics sued over the leases, claiming Michigan first needs to assess the environmental 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.