FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 19, 2014
Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan
(231) 944-8750 email@example.com
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