On Wednesday, December 18 at 7:00, Transition Ferndale will be screening “Gasland Part 2” at the Ferndale Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI., with discussion following. The meeting is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available. You need not be a resident of Ferndale to attend.

“Gasland Part 2” is the second documentary on the subject of fracking (formally, high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing) made by Josh Fox and originally shown on HBO. The first one focused more on showing bad effects of fracking on people living near drill pads. Part 2 focuses more on showing the politics involved, though the new film still includes horrifying examples of why you don’t want a fracking drill pad constructed in your neighborhood.

You may have missed it when Josh Fox brought this film to the Main Art Theater in Royal Oak in October. You may have seen it then and want a friend to see it now.

It’s an especially important topic for Michigan, because the entire Lower Penninsula is above the kind of shale that can be fracked, and because many other areas with similar shale deposits lack adequate water resources to support high-volume fracking. Michigan, in the middle of the Great Lakes, has lots of water available. We are a target.

So far, only 15 or so wells in Michigan have used high-volume fracking. The first one was completed in 2010. Fracking promoters say that fracking has been going on in Michigan for 60 years, but that’s a word game, not a reality. Everything done in Michigan before 2010 used less water (about 100 times less water per well) and less hazardous chemicals in wells that were much shallower and never drilled horizontally. Both types of operation are fracking in the sense that the little outboard you can haul behind a pickup truck and the Great Lakes ore carrier are both boats.

The tagline on our website says, “Coping with peak oil, climate change & a failing economy in S. E. Michigan.” Where does fracking fit into this way of looking at the world?

High-volume horizontal fracking for oil and natural gas is happening only because the conventional sources of oil and natural gas are so depleted the conventional supply is not adequate. Fracking takes more materials and more energy to drill wells that deplete at astonishingly high rates.

Fracking, in other words, is an increasingly desperate and environmentally destructive way to postpone failure of the fossil fuel economy. It’s the view of the transition movement that what we should be doing instead is building resilient local communities that are less dependent on fossil fuels. Fracking takes attention and resources from this effort – and ruins local ground water too. We believe fracking should be stopped because it does permanent damage to the environment and is the opposite of a sustainable source of energy.

We’ll have some local activists who know about fracking on hand to lead discussion after the video. Join us – Wednesday the 18th, 7:00, Ferndale Library.

Art Myatt