LANSING – State Representatives Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores), Tom Cochran (D-Mason) and Andy Schor (D-Lansing) announced at a press conference today the introduction of eight bills designed to shed light on hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking.” Nic Clark, executive director of Michigan Clean Water Action, and Jack Schmitt of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters joined the representatives at their press conference. 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.
“Fracking is not new in Michigan. Vertical drilling has been done here since 1952, but new horizontal drilling is using more chemicals, more water and more land. Michiganders deserve to know what fracking is and what it does,” Roberts said. “Our legislation makes sure drilling companies disclose the chemicals they use, report how much water they use and give a voice to the public and the local communities.”
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 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.
“My legislation to codify the current prohibition of spraying flowback water from fracking onto roads takes a common-sense approach to fracking and its effects on the environment,” said Cochran. “We need to balance the economics of natural gas with the economics of water, tourism and agriculture. Polluted waters and land could ruin those industries.”
Roberts, Cochran and Schor urge 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.
“Michiganders need to have information on fracking so that they understand what it is, what it does and what that means for their communities and our state’s natural resources, which play an important role in our economy,” said Schor. “This legislative package will require transparency from companies that use fracking and educate the public on its effects.”