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BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Bringing with it concerns about potential earthquakes, contaminated drinking water and dangerous spills, an oil boom has hit the popular, pristine vacation destination of the Irish Hills in Jackson and Lenawee counties.Tall rigs punch holes among lakes and wetlands, and gas flares light up the night sky.
The boom that began with discoveries of oil near tiny Napoleon three years ago has made Jackson County the state's top oil producer. It produces about 2% of the oil customers consume statewide, a company executive said. Manistee County in northern Michigan is the second-highest producer, and Lenawee County is third.
Oil companies are seeking more mineral leases and more spots to drill, and now, permits for deep-injection wells to inject their waste fluids underground.
Fears that the oil companies might be using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- a process in which millions of gallons of water and chemicals are shot at high pressure down a well to break up oil- or gas-bearing rock -- drew about 400 people to a town hall earlier this month.