Press Release: December 19, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 19, 2014

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

Michigan's ballot initiative to ban fracking and frack waste next up after New York ban

Charlevoix, Michigan – Michigan voters working on a statewide ban on fracking and frack wastes cheered New York's decision this week recommended by state health and environmental officials to continue that state's ban on hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," based on a state health department health study that looked at the scientific evidence of the frack industry's harm to human health and the environment.(1)

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, the grassoots, ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org) is calling for more donors and volunteers to take part in the Michigan voter-driven effort to put the question to voters in 2016.

"Now it's up to Michiganders to do the same. Only a ban can protect us. Anything less allows fracking. We celebrate all the grassroots activists and scientists who worked hard to bring about the outcome in New York. New York got it right: fracking is harmful to human health and the environment. New polls show more Americans oppose fracking than ever before. The tide is turning. Unfortunately many people in fracked states, including Michigan, are human guinea pigs in the frack industry's experiment. People in places like Pennslyvania, Colorado and Texas were studied to measure the harm done to humans to bring New York officials to their senses. We ask everyone to join in our grassroots effort to ban fracking and frack wastes statewide. We also ask Michigan scientists and medical and health professionals to document and speak out about the human health impacts that we know are going on here," said LuAnne Kozma, campaign director.

New York's health study described health outcomes in several published reports that "present data from surveys of health complaints among residents living near HVHF activities. Commonly reported symptoms include skin rash or irritation, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, breathing difficulties or cough, nosebleeds, anxiety/stress, headache, dizziness, eye irritation, and throat irritation in people and farm animals within proximity to HVHF natural gas development...." (p. 13)

In Michigan, the frack industry is drilling frack wells, disposing and processing frack wastes, including radioactive materials, from other states at processing facilities, landfills and injection wells, building compressor stations and new natural gas plants, and pushing new pipelines for fracked gas. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is seeking primacy from the EPA over the state's injection wells, which number 1,460 (of the class II type).

The Committee's ballot initiative language also eliminates existing state law that requires Michigan to "foster the development of the [gas and oil] industry along the most favorable conditions and with a view to the ultimate recovery of the maximum production" of oil and gas. In its place, the new law adds language that would require the state to "protect human health and water."

Michigan voters have the ballot initiative process in the state constitution. "Legislative initiatives" change statutory law and completely bypass the governor who cannot veto them. After the required number of signatures are validated, the state legislature has the opportunity to pass the law exactly as written or reject it by roll call vote. Rejection or no action within 40 session days places the ballot initiative on the next statewide ballot. Once voted in by voters, the language cannot be changed by a future legislature except by a 3/4th supermajority vote in both house and senate.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan collected signatures twice before, in 2012 when it gathered over 30,000 signatures, and in 2013 when it collected over 70,000. The group intends to collect at least 320,000 to assure placement on the ballot. The new requirement is 252,522 valid signatures, which must be gathered within a six-month time frame.

The Committee does not yet have a timeline as to when the next signature-gathering phase will begin. "That depends on how much money we raise and how many volunteers step forward. We need more of both before we can make a decision," said Kozma.

The Committee is distributing an informative 4-page brochure (3) on its website, www.letsbanfracking.org and at public meetings and events and is available for speaking engagements to help bring awareness to the public.

To volunteer, donate to, or endorse the campaign please go to www.letsbanfracking.org

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(1) New York State Department of Health. A Public Health Review of High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing for Shale Gas Development.http://www.health.ny.gov/press/reports/docs/high_volume_hydraulic_fracturing.pdf

(2) Concerned Health Professionals of New York. Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. December 2014 Second edition. http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/CHPNY-Fracking-Compendium.pdf

(3) Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s brochure here: http://www.letsbanfracking.org/images/CBFM%20_2014_brochure_with%20links_FINAL.pdf

Press Release: October 28, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 28, 2014

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750          luanne@letsbanfracking.org

Ballot initiative to ban fracking supporters to protest in Lansing

Charlevoix, Michigan – The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a statewide ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org), will gather outside the Lansing Center (in downtown Lansing) tomorrow, October 29, to protest the Michigan DNR’s twice-annual auction of state-owned mineral rights. The event takes place Wednesday from 7:00 am to noon.  The auction begins at 9:00 am.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is a ballot question committee that collected over 70,000 signatures in 2013 for a statewide ban on fracking and frack wastes. The Committee’s proposal is not on this November’s ballot.  The group is working on placing it on the next statewide ballot in 2016.

“The State’s role in creating more fracking starts with the DNR auction of mineral rights,” said LuAnne Kozma, the Committee’s campaign director. “In addition to receiving royalties from the gas and oil industry for leasing mineral rights, the State also receives income from the production of oil and gas,[1] and is required by state law to ‘foster the development of the industry along the most favorable conditions,’[2] part of the current law our ballot initiative will overturn along with a ban on fracking and frack wastes.”

The group cites the continued push by the frack industry, supported by the State, in approving radioactive frack sludge from other states at a waste facility in Van Buren

Township in Wayne County,[3] the start of new pipelines that will bring fracked gas through the state,[4] and new natural gas plants proposed in Marquette and Gaylord. 

The fracking giant Encana recently sold its mineral rights to energy giant Marathon.[5]

“Nearly every day, Michiganders are facing a new threat from the frack industry as the State government helps industry turn our beautiful state into Gasland, whether it’s from radioactive frack waste or new natural gas plants. All of this industrialization is going to exacerbate climate change and health impacts,” said Kozma.

The DNR will auction off more state-owned mineral rights on thousands of acres in the following counties: Arenac, Clare, Crawford, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Ingham, Isabella, Kalkaska, Manistee, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Oceana, Osceola, Presque Isle, and Roscommon.

Public notice about the auction here:http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/ProposedPubNotice_464073_7.pdf

Michigan DNR site about the auction here:

http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10368_11800-169044--,00.html 

Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s brochure here:

http://www.letsbanfracking.org/images/CBFM%20_2014_brochure_with%20links_FINAL.pdf

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[1] MCL 205.303

[2] MCL 324.61502

[4] Detroit Free Press, “Rival Projects Compete for OK to Build Gas Pipelines,” October 12, 2014. http://www.freep.com/story/money/business/columnists/tom-walsh/2014/10/12/tom-walsh-dueling-pipelines/17046379/

Press Release: August 20, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 20, 2014 

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

231-944-8750       luanne@letsbanfracking.org

Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan to greet trucks shipping radioactive fracking waste from Pennsylvania

 

Trucks on their way to PA today

Belleville—After a shipment of radioactive frack waste from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale region was approved by Michigan Department of Environmental Quality regulators late last week, the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, the ballot question committee seeking to ban fracking and frack wastes, made plans to greet the trucks in a visibility event when the wastes arrive at the Belleville processing and disposal facility.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection informed LuAnne Kozma today at 11 a.m. that trucks from Michigan are on the way to Pennsylvania to bring the material here. An exact date and time of the trucks’ arrival in Michigan are not yet known.

The Committee is mobilizing its volunteers who participated in last year’s ballot initiative, which involved hundreds of people gathering over 70,000 signatures from Michigan voters in 2013. The Committee’s ballot initiative language will prohibit such shipments, once passed by the voters in 2016.

The radioactive material includes two roll-off containers of “fracking sludge” and possibly a “box” of liner to be cut up into 4 ft x 4 ft sheets.

“This is a wake-up call for Michiganders that all fracking operations and the impacts on people are connected. Our entire state is a frack waste dumping ground for frack operations in Michigan and from other states,” said LuAnne Kozma, campaign director. “This particular waste is coming from a county in Pennsylvania where the residents are living among over 800 frack wells, four impoundments and other frack industry complexes, all of which is affecting their health and well being.”

Once diluted at the Belleville processing facility to under 50 pCi/g, all of the material will be disposed of at the processing facility’s twin facility at the same site, Wayne Disposal Inc., a hazardous waste landfill, but is permissible to be disposed of in any Michigan landfill.

The ballot initiative would ban the storage, processing, disposal and production of frack wastes statewide, in addition to banning horizontal hydraulic fracturing operations and repealing a law that requires the state to foster the development of the oil and gas industry “along the most favorable conditions.”

The Committee’s new four-page interpretive brochure on the harms of fracking, the extent of the frack industry in Michigan, and how the Committee’s ballot initiative works is available on the Committee’s website, http://LetsBanFracking.org.

The Committee plans screenings of the documentary film “Gasland 2” throughout the state. A screening in West Bloomfield takes place tonight at the West Bloomfield public library at 6:00 p.m. See http://LetsBanFracking.org for details.

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Press Release March 26, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2014

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

Health Impacts of Shale Gas Development” presentation by Dr. Larysa Dyrszka and fundraiser to be held in Ann Arbor by Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

 

Charlevoix, Michigan – The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan announces the first in a series of speakers and events on the public health impacts of gas drilling and fracking. Dr. Larysa Dyrszka, M.D., a co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, will present “Health Impacts of Shale Gas Development” at Washtenaw Community College on Thursday evening, April 10 at 7 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public. Parking is free at Washtenaw Community College.

A fundraiser reception to support the Committee's ballot initiative to ban horizontal fracking and frack wastes in Michigan will precede Dyrszka's presentation, from 5:30 to 6:45 pm.

Evidence is mounting in states with ongoing fracking and gas and oil development that people, animals, and entire communities are getting sick and paying the price for this toxic industry. Many are leaving their homes due to the contamination of their land, the water they drink and the air they breathe,” reports LuAnne Kozma, campaign director for Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan.

"This is a timely opportunity for the Michigan Public Health Community, nurses, doctors and parents. Dr. Dyrszka provides current information and research on how this new form of energy is affecting the health of residents who live in the shadow of the drilling rigs," said long-time public health nurse in Southeast Michigan, Diane Weckerle, RN Med.

The Committee's fundraiser reception takes place at 5:30 to 6:45 pm at the Morris Lawrence Building, room 105, Washtenaw Community College at 4800 East Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48105. Tickets are $40 per person and may be reserved at the Committee's website at www.letsbanfracking.org “Fundraisers.”

The lecture takes place at 7:00 pm down the hall in Room 101, also in the Morris Lawrence Building.

More about Dr. Larysa Dyrszka:

Dr. Larysa Dyrszka, a pediatrician, has been speaking out on behalf of children for a long time -- in defense of human rights in the United Nations Economic and Social Committee, against trafficking internationally and most recently against the health effects of fracking for natural gas in New York State. Over the past three years she has gathered data and scientific research on health problems from fracking in Pennsylvania, Colorado and beyond. She has presented testimony on the "Potential Health Impacts of Gas Drilling" in the New York State Assembly, at the NYS Democratic Caucus Hearing, at the Assembly's Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation, at the Delaware River Basin Commission, in Columbus, Ohio and Altoona, PA, at Rutgers University, Sarah Lawrence College, to the Master of Public Health Program Upstate University of CNY, and to the NY State Bar Association conference on gas drilling. She has also given public presentations to warn residents in the southern counties of New York where energy companies have been eager to drill.

Dr. Dyrszka is a founding member of Concerned Health Professionals of NY which organized health professionals to raise concerns about the health effects of gas drilling in New York. The efforts of health professionals and other environmental activists resulted in a temporary moratorium on fracking throughout New York State. She is also an active member of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, an organization that provides the public with independent scientific research and information on fracking and healthy energy alternatives.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan collected over 70,000 signatures face-to-face from Michigan voters in 2013. This year the Committee is focusing on fundraising and public awareness to again collect signatures in 2015. The Committee plans to bring in more medical and public health experts to warn Michigan residents and practitioners of the harms to human and animal health caused by the frack industry.

Contributions to the campaign can be made online at www.letsbanfracking.org or by check to: Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, PO Box 490, Charlevoix, MI, 49720. Contributions must include: contributor's name address, and occupation, employer name, and employer address. 

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Press Release: January 15, 2014

Press Release: Colorado fracking experts to speak in Bloomfield Hills

 

January 15, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, 231-944-8750  luanne@letsbanfracking.org

 

 

Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan to hold fundraiser event featuring Colorado activists Wes Wilson and Phil Doe

 

(Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)--The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is hosting a fundraiser event, "Building the Ban Fracking Movement by Ballot Initiative: Protecting Michigan and Colorado Water," on Friday, January 31, 2014, 7:00-9:00 p.m. in Bloomfield Hills, featuring guest speakers Wes Wilson and Phil Doe, ban fracking activists from Colorado.

 

Donations to the campaign are welcome. Suggested donation $75. Any donation over $20 must be by check only. You may reserve a seat at www.letsbanfracking.org (fundraisers) or by calling 231-944-8750.

 

Both speakers are in the forefront of the ban fracking movement in Colorado. Wes Wilson, an environmental engineer for 35 years for the EPA, holds a B.S. in Geological Engineering and an M.S. in Water Resources. Wes was the whistle blower featured in movies “Gasland” and “Split Estate.” Phil Doe, former Bureau Chief and Environmental Compliance Officer for the Bureau of Reclamation in the Department of Interior, was also a featured whistle blower on 60 Minutes.  They will talk about the serious harms Colorado communities are facing with the frack industry, and what people are doing to fight back using direct democracy. 

 

The event takes place at Birmingham Unitarian Church, 38651 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. 

 

This program is not sponsored by and may not reflect the views of Birmingham Unitarian Church.

 

 

To reserve a seat, or for questions, please call 231-944-8750.

 

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Press Release: October 8, 2013 Committee to Ban Fracking gets 70,000 signatures, continues campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8, 2013

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

 

Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan ballot initiative rallies 70,000 signatures, organizers to continue campaign and fundraising

Charlevoix, MichiganThe Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, the ballot question committee collecting signatures for a legislative initiative to put a ban on horizontal fracking and frack wastes to a statewide vote in 2014, reports that it has not yet gathered the required 258,088 signatures in a six-month period that started in April. Committee organizers will pursue fundraising activities to continue gathering signatures until the required number is met, and will use both paid and volunteer petitioners. The official deadline for turning in signatures is in May 2014.

 

The Committee tallies 69,890 signatures at press time and is still counting. Last year, the Committee gathered over 30,000 signatures on a similar initiative that would have amended the state constitution to ban fracking. In all, the Committee manages over 500 volunteers who collected over 92% of the signatures, and ten paid petitioners, with a dedicated group of all-volunteer organizers. The Committee aims to change that equation in the coming months.

“We've built the movement to ban fracking and spread the word statewide reaching tens of thousands of Michigan voters. We now know that people want direct democracy to work, but it's only a matter of time and money to get more feet on the ground doing the talking and collecting. We have come to the conclusion that we need to pay experienced circulators as many other ballot initiatives have successfully done,” said campaign director LuAnne Kozma. She noted that while dedicated campaign volunteers have given generous amounts of their time and many have learned and mastered the art of ballot initiative petitioning, most volunteers have limited experience with the rigors and timeliness requirements of ballot initiatives. “Of course we are disappointed with not meeting the goal in these past six months, we have a ways to go, but no one said it would be easy to train hundreds of people about the mechanics of direct democracy and reach 320,000 voters in person. Ballot initiatives require determination and several tries. We are fired up by how many people we have now met who also want to ban fracking. We are determined to continue and we are destined to win.”

 

The tide is turning in the Committee's favor. Circulators reported seeing a dramatic difference in public attitudes this year compared to last, which is backed up by Pew Research Center survey results that more Americans now oppose fracking than favor it (49% to 44%), and a sixteen-point increase in opposition occurred in the Midwest, with a 48% majority of Midwesterners now opposing fracking, compared to only 32% opposed six months ago, the same time period as the Committee's campaign.(1)

“We definitely noticed the difference. The gathering is easy and getting easier,” said Peggy Case, Committee to Ban Fracking organizer for northwest Michigan. “As a grassroots movement, we started with a committee of nine people and zero dollars at the start of the year, and began building a network of people who reached 70,000 people face-to-face. We encounter people who thank us for doing this and are rooting for us to win. They get it that only a ban can protect us and that to get fracked with 'regulated fracking' is not the answer. Our only obstacle is getting enough people out there for longer periods of time and to do that, we need the financial resources to pay knowledgeable, dedicated workers to gather signatures in the volumes necessary to get on the ballot. We've now trained paid petitioners in our issue and have seen how effective they are in reaching out to people about fracking, getting significant numbers of signatures, and being committed to making it to the ballot. An effective paid petitioner can gather 500 to 1,000 signatures in one week. This is a 'call to arms' and action. Supporters who want to make a difference and make this happen, all they have to do is write a check. We need a core of significant donors who are willing to make larger contributions. Without a core organization, union or religious group sponsoring this drive, our effort is dependent upon our fellow humans who want to protect each other from fracking. Who will step up and give those amounts? The sooner we have those contributions, large and small, the sooner we can continue.”

 

The Committee plans a series of fundraiser events throughout the fall and will host a free screening of the documentary Gasland Part II, with filmmaker Josh Fox in his only live appearance in Michigan on Wednesday, October 16 at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak at 6:30 p.m. Details are at the Committee's website: www.letsbanfracking.org. Campaign details will be announced at the screening after the Committee meets to plan strategy.

The list of places in Michigan getting fracked by horizontal fracking continues to grow. Last month permits were issued for a frack well in Livingston County just 30 miles from Lansing, as well as in Oceana and Sanilac counties. Hillsdale, Ionia, Muskegon, Kalkaska, Crawford, Ogemaw and Roscommon, all are facing deep frack wells, along with wells in Cheboygan, Missaukee and Antrim counties. Mineral rights for fracking have been leased out in nearly every county in the Lower Peninsula. Michigan has over 1,000 toxic injection wells for frack wastes and is building more, and is expected to take in wastes from other states' fracking operations such as Ohio which has less than 200 injection wells projected to be filled to capacity within two years. The frack industry is using more water per frack in Michigan, with the Canadian company Encana proposing to use over 1 billion gallons of fresh groundwater in a series of wells, topping national records.

 

Donors are urged to contact the Committee by phone at: 231-944-8750. Contributions can also be made online at www.letsbanfracking.org or by check to: Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, PO Box 490, Charlevoix, MI, 49720. Contributions must include: contributor's name, address, occupation, employer name, and employer address.

(1) Pew Research Center, September 2013, http://www.people-press.org/files/legacy-pdf/9-26-13%20Energy%20Release.pdf

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Press Release October 1, 2013

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 1, 2013

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

 

Organizations Voice Support for Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan ballot initiative

 

Charlevoix, Michigan – More individuals and groups are joining the chorus of endorsements for the citizen-led ballot initiative by Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, as the Committee continues to collect signatures.

 

Wes Wilson, the EPA whistleblower featured in the films Gasland and Split Estate, endorses the campaign. Wilson, who worked for 35 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2004 after he wrote a report to Congress and the Inspector General of EPA challenging the accuracy of an EPA study that had concluded there was no evidence that hydraulic fracturing posed a threat to drinking water. That study, he claimed, did not use established agency standards and relied on a peer review panel dominated by energy industry personnel. He is also spearheading a ballot initiative in Colorado to limit the frack industry's use of water in Colorado.

 

Activist, grassroots groups in other states also endorse, including: the New York groups Coalition to Protect New York, New York Climate Action Group, and FrackbustersNY; Ohio groups Faith Communities Together for Frac Awareness, Freshwater Accountability Project, Northwest Ohio Alliance to Stop Fracking, and Williams County Alliance; the Illinois group, SAFE—Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment; in Kentucky, Kentucky Climate Action; in Tennessee, the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy and Sustainable Chattanooga; in Canada, Canadians for Action on Climate Change, and Climate SOS Canada. The grassroots groups Wrong Kind of Green and Peace of the Action also endorse.

 

All ballot initiatives are non-partisan. Initiatives are an electoral process guaranteed by the Michigan state constitution. The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is a registered ballot question committee registered with the Secretary of State Bureau of Elections. The purpose of a ballot initiative is to put a vote of the people on the ballot in a statewide election.

 

All endorsing organizations and individuals are listed on the Committee's website. New endorsements will be announced periodically. To endorse the campaign, groups and individuals are urged to go to the Committee's website at: www.letsbanfracking.org to the Endorse page to register their support. Non-profits may endorse ballot initiatives because it is not considered lobbying to ask fellow voters to sign a petition or vote for a ballot proposal. Michigan organizations and its members are expected to assist the campaign to gather signatures and raise money to qualify for the ballot.

 

Contributions to the campaign can be made online at www.letsbanfracking.org or by check to: Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, PO Box 490, Charlevoix, MI, 49720. Contributions must include: contributor's name address, and occupation, employer name, and employer address.

 

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Press Release September 19, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 19, 2013

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

Ban fracking petition deadline nears, more endorsers announced

Charlevoix, Michigan – Today the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan announces more endorsing organizations and individuals who support the Committee's ballot initiative to ban horizontal fracking and frack wastes in Michigan. The Committee's self-imposed deadline to collect signatures is October 1. Circulators are urged to send in sheets no later than October 2. New volunteers should contact the campaign website immediately to volunteer and get petition sheets.

National leaders, local leaders, organizations and small businesses are stepping up to endorse the campaign.

Activists in other states who are seeing the harmful effects of fracking include the powerhouse group, Marcellus Protest, based in Pennsylvania, who is actively endorsing and promoting Michigan's efforts. Phil Doe, with Be the Change in Colorado, the leader of a state ballot initiative to protect Colorado's water from fracking, and who most recently has reported on the devastating effects of Colorado's massive floods on heavily-fracked Weld County, also endorses the Michigan ban fracking initiative.

International leader Jonathan Deal of the South African group trying to ban fracking, Treasure the Karoo Action Group, and the 2013 recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa (only one award is given out to one person per continent worldwide) and who has travelled extensively in the United States visiting fracking operations, gives his wholehearted support to the Committee to Ban Fracking. Also endorsing, from Canada, Emma Lui and Council of Canadians. Lui toured the deep frack wells in Kalkaska County as part of their group's Protect the Great Lakes Forever Tour and wrote about Michigan's ballot initiative.

National leaders Dr. Jill Stein, the 2012 presidential candidate for the Green Party, who recently came to Michigan and spoke out about fracking at the Occupy National Gathering in Kalamazoo, and David Cobb, who barnstormed through four Michigan cities this week giving presentations with the grassroots movement called Move to Amend, also endorse.

Local leaders Craig Covey, former mayor of Ferndale, and Summerfield Township supervisor John Chandler, in Monroe County, also endorse.

New endorsing individuals and organizations:

Alcona Local Food Association

Barry County Democratic Committee

John Chandler, Summerfield Township Supervisor, Monroe County

David Cobb, spokesperson, Move to Amend

Council of Canadians (www.canadians.org)

Craig Covey, former mayor, City of Ferndale

Jonathan Deal, 2013 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa, Treasure the Karoo

Phil Doe, Be the Change, Colorado ban fracking activist

Jill Stein, 2012 Green Party candidate for president

Marcellus Protest, (Pennsylvania)

Treasure the Karoo Action Group (South Africa)

Peace, Love and Planet, Northville

Progressive Printing, Battle Creek

Roger Taylor, radio host, WKZO, Kalamazoo

Sally Rogers, folk musician, Thrushwood Press Publishing

Play Environments, Inc., Holland (MI)

AMPM24-7 Productions, Honor

Ideology, Inc., Oxford

Moratorium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shutoff, Detroit

Howie Hawkins, Syracuse, NY

All ballot initiatives are non-partisan. Initiatives are an electoral process guaranteed by the Michigan state constitution. The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is a registered ballot question committee registered with the Secretary of State Bureau of Elections. The purpose of a ballot initiative is to put a vote of the people on the ballot in a statewide election.

Campaign director LuAnne Kozma notes “The threat of fracking in Michigan is pulling people together as much as it is pulling some communities apart. There is not an upstate/downstate divide, nor is it solely a rural issue. The frack industry rewards a few people financially and impacts a lot of people negatively. Fracking is going to affect all of Michigan's people through contamination of the air, water resources, food and beverages, all of our life support systems.”

Endorsements will be announced periodically. To endorse the campaign, groups and individuals are urged to go to the Committee's website at: www.letsbanfracking.org to the Endorse page to register their support. Non-profits may endorse ballot initiatives because it is not considered lobbying to ask fellow voters to sign a petition or vote for a ballot proposal. Organizations and its members are expected to assist the campaign to gather signatures and raise money to qualify for the ballot.

Contributions to the campaign can be made online at www.letsbanfracking.org or by check to: Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, PO Box 490, Charlevoix, MI, 49720. Contributions must include: contributor's name address, and occupation, employer name, and employer address.

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Press Release September 13, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 13, 2013

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750 luanne@letsbanfracking.org

 

University of Michigan hydraulic fracturing reports compromised by steering committee contributions to Michigan Chamber's political campaign aimed at defeating ballot initiative

 

Committee to Ban Fracking's 2013 ballot initiative not mentioned in University of Michigan frack study

 

Charlevoix, Michigan – The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a statewide ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org), exposes the undisclosed financial conflict of interest in the University of Michigan's Graham Institute's hydraulic fracturing study, issued last week.

 

University of Michigan fracking study steering committee members contributed to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s political campaign against the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan‘s veto-proof ballot initiative. An analysis of the Committee’s campaign–or anything about Michigan’s ballot initiative process–is nowhere to be found in the U of M's reports. One brief mention of the Committee to Ban Fracking misleadingly references the 2012 campaign to amend the state constitution.

 

Two steering committee members, John DeVries of the law firm Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones, which represents Encana in fracking cases in Michigan, and Gregory Fogle who owns Old Mission Energy, each contributed $500 to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s “PAC-II” ballot question committee (Secretary of State ID # 513425) which vociferously opposes the ban fracking ballot initiative with a campaign of their own called “Protect Michigan’s Energy Future.” Together DeVries and Fogle speak for the Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA), helping to steer the U of M's integrated assessment report. They were quoted in a UM press release last fall announcing the Graham study. DeVries in particular claimed the study would be “unbiased.” On May 20 MOGA itself gave $10,000 to PAC-II. Total of the three contributions: $11,000, out of $324,525 collected in the second quarter of 2013. PAC-II has put up billboards around the state to defeat the ban fracking ballot initiative. On May 8 the Chamber put out a press release denouncing the initiative as dangerous, emotional, and extremist. A few weeks before, Deb Muchmore, speaking for MOGA, said: “We are taking the initiative seriously….”. Blasted across the Michigan news media, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce’s emerging campaign was highly visible.

We knew before the study was even conducted that with industry steering the U of M researchers' work, that it is an inherently 'frackademia' study,” said LuAnne Kozma. “The reason for the omission of our campaign's 2013 ballot initiative from the Public Perception report, and the total lack of any mention of the constitutional power of the people of Michigan's right to referendum and initiative in the Law & Policy report, and the fact that we the People are actually using it to ban fracking statewide, is made crystal clear in light of the U of M study's steering committee and their financial contributions—undisclosed in the U of M reports-- to the Michigan Chamber of Commerce's political campaign fund aimed to defeat our initiative.”

The Law and Policy Technical Report, by lead author Sara Gosman of the UM law school, makes no mention of the Committee to Ban Fracking's ballot initiative, nor of Michigan's voters' power under the state constitution to initiative and referendum. Under state and regional trends, other states’ ban and moratoria are identified, as are Michigan regulatory (not ban) bills introduced this summer. “The Law and Policy report details 'prioritized pathways' to guide future policy options, including options for 'public participation in governmental decisions on hydraulic fracturing,' but not the most obvious one of all spelled out in the state constitution that Michigan voters readily make use of–direct democracy by initiative and referendum,” said Kozma.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s campaign collects signatures through October 1, 2013. Volunteer or donate at www.letsbanfracking.org.

To make a comment on the U of M’s Graham Institute’s website about the hydraulic fracturing reports go here. The comment deadline is October 7, 2013.

More information about this story can be found at: www.banmichiganfracking.org.

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More Articles...

  1. Press Release July 8, 2013
  2. Press Release June 24, 2013
  3. Press Release March 27, 2013

 

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