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Hughes v. Department of Environmental Quality

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20036
Nos. 312902, (Mich. Ct. App., 02/11/2014)

A Michigan appellate court held that Mich. Admin. Rule 324.102(x), which defines the term “injection well,” does not include wells completed using hydraulic fracturing. Accordingly, "frack" wells are not subject to the environmental regulations applicable to injection wells. For a well to be categorized as an “injection well” under Rule 324.102(x), the well must be used for the purpose of recovering hydrocarbons before and after the injection of fluid. Hydraulic fracturing wells, however, are not used for the purpose of recovering hydrocarbons before the injection of fluid. Had Rule 324.102(x) been intended to encompass all recovery of hydrocarbons, not only the increased recovery of hydrocarbons, it could have simply read in relevant part, “the purpose of the recovery of hydrocarbons” or “the purpose of recovering hydrocarbons.”