Oct 27th, 2012
This week in Lansing Michigan activists from all walks of life converged to take on the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Michigan DNR was planning to auction off 196,000 acres of mineral rights under private and public lands to be used for Horizontal Hydrolic Fracturing. The Lansing Center was playing host to the event this time- moved from a nearby government building because of anticipated protests.
While the main protest was centered outside the building, the DNR agreed to having some members of the public in the auction room if they kept it quiet and just observed. In all, over 3 dozen people were ejected from the room throughout the day for disrupting the auction.
Wednesdays auction was the first action for Deep Water Earth First!, a new group in Michigan. Just before the auction was to begin a few members walked into the Lansing Center unopposed and released 2 large banners tied to balloons. Both quickly rose out of reach of security and hung at the top of the 40 foot ceilings. Another balloon was released, this one had an alarm on it emitting a piercing whistle at 130 decibels for 1 hour. Just after the balloons went up, another alarm was released inside the auction room itself. A few other people rushed the podium at the front of the room in an attempt to lock together to disrupt the entire affair. Unfortunately the police response was swift and the lockdown was thwarted.
In all the auction was delayed instead of cancelled. But compared to what happened at the last auction in May (mostly outside protest with a few disruptions in the room) the DNR must know that this is only the beginning. They plan to have these auctions twice a year, and the companies that buy mineral rights are public knowledge….