MUSKEGON — State Representative Marcia Hovey-Wright (D-Muskegon) announced at a press conference today the introduction of eight bills designed to shed light on hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking.” The package of legislation will provide transparency for families and individuals, protect public health and water quality, hold drilling companies accountable, and protect our state’s tourism industry.
“The practice of fracking places our health and our environment in jeopardy for the sake of profits for big corporations,” Hovey-Wright said. “People deserve to know what chemicals these corporations are pumping into our ground before they end up in our kids’ water glasses.”
The legislation seeks to ensure that the chemicals used in fracking don’t have an adverse effect on water quality or the health of nearby residents. Some bills in the package would:
Require the disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process and report the water used when it exceeds more than 100,000 gallons
Give municipalities and individuals the opportunity to request a public hearing before a fracking permit is issued, letting people have a say in the process
Allow local units of government to control fracking operations in their communities
Create a public-private advisory committee to study the effects of fracking and make recommendations
Increase the setback distance of fracking operations from residential areas and apply it to schools, hospitals, daycare centers and public parks
“Compromising our ground water for the sake of natural gas production sends the signal that natural gas is more important than safe drinking water or agriculture, our state’s second largest industry,” Hovey-Wright said. “Fracking endangers thousands of inland lakes and our water supply. We can’t recklessly allow fracking to take precedent over agriculture, tourism and safe, clean drinking water.”
Currently, about 930 chemicals have been used in the fracking process, according to information from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Current and pending drilling permits estimate proposed water used in fracking operations at 500 million gallons. Another drilling company is proposing 500 new sites and anticipates using 4 billion gallons of Great Lakes water.
Hovey-Wright urged residents to visit www.ProtectMIWater.com, where they can find information about fracking, learn about the bills in the package and sign a petition supporting the legislation.
“I urge everyone to learn about the risks of fracking,” Hovey-Wright said. “Every person in Michigan is potentially at risk from the dangers of fracking, so every person in Michigan should speak up to support these common-sense regulations.