Fracking ban committee sets sights on 2014 general election

Fracking ban committee sets sights on 2014 general election by Sean Dalton, August 28, 2012, The News-Herald
Unable to meet the petition deadline to have a fracking ban constitutional amendment placed on the Nov. 6 ballot this year, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is now collecting petition signatures through to Nov. 6 of this year. … “I think some people in Washtenaw are very well aware and are very frightened,” said LuAnne Kozma, an organizer with the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan. “More people in Washtenaw need to be aware, as it’s definitely going to be a hotbed of activity.” While recent oil and gas exploration entrant to Washtenaw County, Paxton Resources, has promised that hydraulic fracturing is leery of drilling activities in general in their neighborhoods, and critics of Paxton and drilling in and near residential spaces in general warn that soft promises not to frack are not enough to protect the environment and quality of life of local communities. Previously the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan was aiming to have the question on this November’s ballot, but the petition drive didn’t receive approval until April, leaving only a couple of months to collect signatures leading up to a July 9 deadline, which is the final deadline preceding a general election. … She encouraged the public to visit the state Department of Environmental Quality’s website, where a list of pending and recently granted permits are available. Thanks to a recent lawsuit, wells that will be worked with a “quick water, high volume horizontal fracking” method, as Kozma termed it, are noted on the list with a special designation. Kozma said that amendments to state constitutions are the only way to ban fracking in states like Michigan or Colorado, where a suite of ballot initiatives were to be placed before voters to ban not just fracking but take other constitutionally-mandated measures to protect that state’s environment, natural resources and quality of life. … “The people have to take it into their own power to amend the state constitution without having to beg, plead and ask people who are our representatives, who may be getting industry money,” Kozma said. “The trend is for people waking up and trying to protect themselves with an amendment in their state constitution. A lot of land is ready to be auctioned off so we are facing a huge threat in Michigan if we don’t get this done.” If the ban ultimately succeeds, fracking sites would have to be shut down and no further permits for such sites would be issued by state regulatory agencies like the DEQ.

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