CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich., Feb. 5, 2021 — State Rep. Bill Sowerby (D-Clinton Township) introduced House Bill 4169 and 4170 that would modernize and strengthen Michigan’s environmental protections while ensuring residents have a say in what happens in their communities. House Bill 4169 would require public notice and comment from potentially affected residents for any proposed fracking project. House Bill 4170 amends the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act to increase fines on those that pollute our waterways.

“Michigan’s natural resources, especially our waterways, are priceless. They are some of the best tools we have to attract talent and business to the state. The current fines for people who pollute our waterways are far too low and not proportionate to the damage a petroleum spill would cause,” said Sowerby. “Citizens have a right to know and give input to their elected officials when large impact projects like fracking are being considered in their community. My bill would increase transparency and encourage participation from the community on issues that impact them.”

Under these bills, those responsible for discharging petroleum into Michigan’s waters would be charged up to $500,000 per day that petroleum is discharged. Currently, the maximum allowed fine is $25,000 per day. Furthermore, new requirements would be placed on companies and municipalities attempting to begin fracking operations in communities.