Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2012

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Citizen-led Ballot Initiative To Ban Fracking in Michigan Begins

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CHARLEVOIX, MICH. – A citizen-led ballot initiative to amend the Michigan state constitution to ban horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, statewide began this week. The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a ballot question committee, received approval of its petition from the Board of State Canvassers. The proposed amendment would also ban the storage of wastes from horizontal hydraulic fracturing, preventing Michigan from becoming a frack wasteland. Michigan has over 1,000 injection wells and over 12,000 conventional gas and oil wells that could be converted for that purpose. The campaign website is: http://letsbanfracking.org.

Michigan is the only state in the nation where citizens are attempting to ban fracking by amendment to a state constitution. Vermont’s legislature passed a ban on fracking on May 4 and with the governor’s approval, became the first state to ban fracking.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is required to submit 322,609 valid signatures from Michigan voters by July 9 to the Bureau of Elections, in order to place the proposed amendment on the ballot in November.

“Michigan’s constitution invites citizens to amend it,” said Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s campaign director LuAnne Kozma, of Novi, and a co-founder of the non-profit public interest group Ban Michigan Fracking. “We chose to form a ballot question committee and amend the constitution because we cannot count on our current elected officials to do the right thing. Proposed ‘frack reform’ bills in Lansing are only attempts to regulate and tolerate fracking and put studies in the hands of State regulators.  New legislation (HB 5565) introduced last week, touted as a disclosure of frack chemicals bill, contains language that forbids physicians treating frack victims from disclosing the chemicals, even to patients. We knew we had to act to stop the toxic invasion about to devastate our state. We will not recognize Michigan in a few years, if we do not ban fracking,” said Kozma.

The citizen effort has the support of Vermont legislators Tony Klein and Peter Peltz who sponsored the Vermont ban bill. “It was clear in Vermont the dangers of fracking to our natural resources. In Vermont our natural resources are our number one priority, so it was not a difficult thing to prohibit fracking forever. It passed overwhelmingly,” said Klein. “We encourage all states, when they have the chance to do so, to ban this dangerous technique.”

New York ban groups also praised the amendment to ban fracking in Michigan. Maura Stephens, a cofounder of the Coalition to Protect New York and other grassroots groups, has been working on fracking issues for five years and will soon publish a book on the subject. “Only massive public resistance to fracking will stop the horrific industrialization of our beautiful states,” Stephens said. “This truly is a matter of life and death for your way of life.”

Earlier this month, a Michigan House of Representatives Natural Gas Subcommittee report recommended that the State lease all of its mineral rights, asserting Michigan’s “natural gas renaissance is upon us.”

The State auctioned off mineral rights in 23 Michigan counties on May 8 in Lansing, including the rights under Yankee Springs State Recreation Area (a state park) in Barry County and highly populated areas in Oakland County. Residents attempting to save their communities attended the auction, registered as bidders and tried, but failed, to purchase the mineral rights to the areas around Yankee Springs. The entire Lower Peninsula now stands to be fracked. Devon Energy is looking at the A-1 carbonate layers in Gladwin County along with other areas in the middle of the state. Encana is drilling the Utica-Collingwood shale in state forests, with several operations in progress and more pending. Densely populated areas such as Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, and Jackson– communities historically not affected by oil/gas drilling within their borders–are now facing the threat.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, which issues frack permits and at the same time, depends on revenue from the production of gas and oil, continues to publicly confuse the facts, claiming that hydraulic fracturing has been done for over 60 years, while not always informing the public that horizontal hydraulic fracturing is a new, as of 2002, experimental process, often referred to as a marriage of technologies between hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling.

To volunteer to circulate or sign petitions, see: http://LetsBanFracking.org
The petition reads: A proposal to amend the Constitution by adding a new Section 28 to Article I to read as follows: “To insure the health, safety, and general welfare of the people, no person, corporation, or other entity shall use horizontal hydraulic fracturing in the State. “Horizontal hydraulic fracturing” is defined as the technique of expanding or creating rock fractures leading from directional wellbores, by injecting substances including but not limited to water, fluids, chemicals, and proppants, under pressure, into or under the rock, for purposes of exploration, drilling, completion, or production of oil or natural gas. No person, corporation, or other entity shall accept, dispose of, store, or process, anywhere in the State, any flowback, residual fluids, or drill cuttings used or produced in horizontal hydraulic fracturing.”

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Links:
Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

http://LetsBanFracking.org

Ban Michigan Fracking
www.banmichiganfracking.org
Michigan House Bill 5565 (Physicians gag-order bill)

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(v5fzuf2quwfkkeb0ik05v145))/mileg.aspx?page=BillSta

tus&objectname=2012-HB-5565
Michigan Board of State Canvassers draft minutes to April 26, 2012 meeting

http://www.mi.gov/documents/sos/4-26-12_DRAFT_Minutes_383873_7.pdf

Michigan House of Representatives Natural Gas Subcommittee Report, April 2012

http://gophouse.com/publications/80/NaturalGasReport.pdf

 

December 2, 2011                      FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New anti-frack group, “Ban Michigan Fracking” organizes

Opposes Michigan frack-study and frack-panel legislation
Anti-fracking organizations welcome new group

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Ban Michigan Fracking
Phone: 248-473-5761     Email: info@banmichiganfracking.org

Novi, Mich.—A new anti-fracking grassroots activist group, “Ban Michigan Fracking,” organized this week to lead the movement for a statewide ban on fracking for shale or “natural” gas. And fresh from their success in preventing the Delaware River Basin Commission from altering its rules to allow fracking in the headwaters of that mighty river, a host of east-coast and Midwest anti-fracking organizations today welcomed “Ban Michigan Fracking” into the fold.

Ban Michigan Fracking formed to educate, advocate and organize to ban fracking and raise awareness of the dangers of gas drilling to the state’s economy, to the environment and to the health and safety of its people. Ban Michigan Fracking sees as its immediate task the critiquing of current legislation on fracking and water withdrawals that would actually facilitate fracking in the state.

Ban Michigan Fracking spokesperson LuAnne Kozma said, “We have learned from the experience of our sister-organizations in the east that only the total banning of this dangerous process can excite and mobilize people. The halfway measures that pretend to deal with fracking are really designed to fracture our movement and get us bogged down in regulatory detail. We know enough now to demand a ban and we stand with the majority of the informed public in telling our legislators to represent us and not corporate polluters threatening our communities and our way of life.”

Grassroots organizations on the east coast and in the Midwest agreed with that assessment.  Maura Stephens, a co-founder of Coalition to Protect New York, extended a welcome to Ban Michigan Fracking:  “Interstate solidarity and co-operation is the next, necessary level in our struggle against the corporations that would turn our country into a polluted resource colony.” In Pennsylvania, John Detwiler, of the group Marcellus Protest, pointed out “We’re not ‘naïve’ or ‘emotional’, as pro-drilling propaganda paints us:  we see what this industry has already done to other Americans.  Pennsylvania shows why our grassroots movement to ban hydrofracturing is gaining national momentum – we cannot rely on so-called regulation by our state government.”

Hydrofracking has also contaminated Midwest communities that provide inputs for the process.  In Wisconsin, Save The Hills Alliance organizer Pat Popple said “The fracking in Pennsylvania that poisons water wells there is also poisoning the air in Wisconsin where sandstone proppants are mined and processed. An injury to one is an injury to all.”  In Ohio, whose corporate-friendly government is accepting shipments of the toxic wastewater flowing back from the fracking operations in other eastern states, activist Sherry Fleming stated: “The only way we can stop these poisons from coming into our state is to ban fracking. We need to extend our support to ban movements in the region.”

Robert Jereski, of New York Climate Action Group, welcomed the group, saying: “Dedicated anti-frackers nationwide should celebrate the creation of this principled organization. We can expect great things from Ban Michigan Fracking as they will always fight to ban fracking and won’t allow bought politicians, polluting industry, and professional ‘environmental’ groups pushing ‘safe’ fracking legislation to declare ‘wins’ and raise money from unwitting grassroots on the backs of sacrificed communities.”

Ban Michigan Fracking’s Kat Sluka, an activist from Muskegon, said, “We cannot let these industrial corporations invade our communities. It’s imperative to begin organizing on a grassroots level.  We cannot stand for the exploitation of our environment.”

Julia Williams, another co-founder of Ban Michigan Fracking and ER nurse, cited human health as being of utmost concern: “With the atrocities we see in other states due to fracking, people getting sick and entire communities’ water supplies getting contaminated as in Dimock, Pennsylvania and Pavillion, Wyoming, we know we can only accept a ban on the practice.”

The package of bills introduced into the Michigan House by Rep. Mark Meadows and others (House Bills 5149, 5150 and 5151)[1] would begin a fracking study by the Michigan Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources—which derive some of their revenues from the gas industry—and which would be funded by the gas industry, and create an advisory committee chosen by the MDEQ and MDNR that would recommend laws and regulations “governing” fracking and “conditions on permits”—all of which would lead to establishing fracking, not banning it. A moratorium bill is also in the package and is tied to the frack study/frack advisory panel bill, which emulates the situation in New York state. Ban Michigan Fracking learned this week that Representative Meadows is opposed to a ban on fracking.

Kozma added, “We don’t want communities to have false hope with a moratorium, which only creates public complacency, while industry and others work to create the illusion that fracking is ‘safe’ once it has been studied.  Then the onslaught of this industry will begin in earnest. We want a real ban.”

Ban Michigan Fracking has an analysis of the bills recently introduced in the Michigan House (H.B. 5149, 5150 and 5151) attached to this press release and at:

www.banmichiganfracking.org

 

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A Walk About Water  ~ October 5-6-7

Encampment in the Rensselaerville State Forest

Thursday Oct. 6 ~ walk 5 beautiful miles to

Visit NYS county health executives at their

Leadership Summit

Walk About Water is a citizen’s action group  consisting  primarily of women from all over New York and Pennsylvania who are deeply concerned about the health impacts of possible shale gas mining on our region. Walk About Water will be holding an event on Oct. 5-6-7  to bring attention to public health aspect of this industrial development. The members of the Walk About Water citizens action group seek ways to help decision makers acknowledge their obligation to protect the public wellbeing.

Public Health Policy – NYSACHO members and staff work with each other and with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) on the development of new public health policies, including revisions and additions to the state Public Health Law, regulations affecting local health departments and their communities, and guidance documents that provide direction on the implementation of complex public health activities and financing. NYSACHO -New York State Association of County Health Officials – also takes positions on and advocates for changes in public policy and specific legislative proposals. NYSACHO holds 10 monthly membership meetings each year. Visit the Calendar of Events for more information.

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Independent Coalition of Citizens Against Fracking
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2011

Grassroots Groups Expose Bias of Cuomo’s Fracking Advisory Panel in Report Released Today

Contact: gasmain.org(@)gmail.com

Report available at GasMain.org
Download PDF of full report

New York State’s recently named Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel is stacked with appointees who have already made clear they’re on the side of the gas industry’s plan to industrialize the state, say grassroots organizations from around New York. The panel was established by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s DEC commissioner Joe Martens in early July – just a week after the governor ended the de facto statewide moratorium on hydraulic fracking.

In a report released today, the grassroots groups show that the panel is dominated not only by industry representatives and industry-paid academics, but also by representatives of national groups that claim to be working to protect the environment but actually are on record as being promoters of so-called “natural” gas.

“The large national organizations’ coziness with polluting industries, Albany and Washington explains their repeated betrayal of grassroots efforts to protect communities and the environment,” said Robert Jereski of New York Climate Action Group, a grassroots environmental organization focused on climate change and ending industrial logging of old growth forests. “These national groups were chosen by Cuomo because he knew he could count on them to support the false notion of ‘safe’ fracking.”

Members of grassroots environmental, civic and community organizations from across the state, who have been educating themselves and others about fracking for several years, are sure the Advisory Panel’s forthcoming report will contain no surprises.

Finger Lakes-based Lisa Wright, a longtime activist on shale issues, pointed out, “New Yorkers and most people throughout the world who have looked closely at unconventional gas development know that fracking for gas is seriously problematic. Organizations that call themselves ‘environmental’ need to stand up for our communities and act like forward-thinking stewards of the earth, not shale-gas salesmen.”

Cecile Lawrence of Tioga Peace and Justice, Green Party NYS 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate and 2011 candidate for Tioga County Legislature commented  “From the moment he began his campaign for Governor of NYS, Andrew Cuomo insisted on being vague regarding his stance on the fracking of the state. Through the makeup of this panel of fracking advisors he has shown that he clearly has allied himself with fossil fuel based monied interests. The lack of presence of anyone from a true grassroots organization grounded in the people of the state whose lives and livelihoods are at stake shows that Cuomo needs an education as to whom he was elected to represent.”

Carl Arnold of Chenango, Delaware, Otsego Gas Drilling Opposition Group (CDOG) also sees pro-“safe” drilling agendas driving some of the larger, supposedly green groups represented on the panel. “Some groups surely know that drilling can never be safe, yet are fudging on a ban,” he said. “This contradiction is made clear when one examines the connections between multinational polluters, large financial and law firms, the oil and gas boys and some well-known NGOs that claim to be protectors of the environment. Those connections raise the obvious questions: What do they receive from the deep pockets of the oil and gas industry? How can they work with those folks?”

The focus of many allied upstate and downstate activists is Part 2 of a just-released report (available at gasmain.org) on the Cuomo advisory panel members who were purportedly appointed to represent the environmental movement.
Coalition to Protect New York is a collective of organizations around the Finger Lakes, central, western, and Southern Tiers regions. “We’ve learned from painful observation and experience,” said one of the coalition’s cofounders, Jack Ossont of Yates County, “that there is no way to ‘regulate safely’ this destructive industrial process. That’s why informed New Yorkers as well as people across the country are demanding that it be banned.”

Adds a fellow CPNY cofounder, Kate Bartholomew of Schuyler County, “Even with our huge and growing movement, the governor’s panel hasn’t got a single member representing our position. To use taxpayer money — our money — to establish this panel and to promote fracking using these discredited ‘environmental’ organizations and industry insiders is not only the opposite of good representative government; it’s downright deceitful.”

In the report released today by the grassroots alliance, familiar groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, National Sierra Club, Riverkeeper and many others, including New York State level groups, are examined. Their collusion, as well as the incestuous connections between the industry, Governor Cuomo’s advisers, and vendors hired by his administration and his regulatory body, are a major threat to representational government in our state. In July the Albany Project reported that a vendor paid by DEC to conduct an “independent” economic study of proposed fracking has no expertise in such analysis. The firm is also a paid consultant for big oil and gas clients.

“That’s antidemocratic and unethical,” said Dave Walczak of Bath-based Citizens for Healthy Communities. “Besides, if the governor and Department of Environmental Conservation needed a study on community impacts, to save taxpayers the costs of this so-called ‘independent study,’ all they had to do was drive across the Pennsylvania line below Elmira. What you see there is not what we want in any part of New York.”

A similar federal-level advisory panel examining fracking came under fire recently when 28 top scientists challenged President Obama. His panel, they charged, “appears to be performing advocacy-based science” because its chairman profits from fossil fuel exploitation. Gas industry representatives and academics who are publicly avowed fracking advocates figured prominently on the federal panel.

Clare Donohue of Sane Energy Project expressed the question being asked by thousands of New Yorkers: “Governor Cuomo, we demand an explanation of why you have given the people on the ground, in thousands of communities where fracking is proposed—we whose lives would be forever altered—no seats on your advisory panel?”

 

www.gpny.org

Green Party says Hydrofracking report is a smokescreen for gas industry – Greens Continue to urge a Ban on Hydrofracking

The Green Party of New York State is strongly opposed to today’s draft study on hydrofracking for natural gas by the Cuomo administration. The DEC’s report makes it clear that the state’s primary focus is clearing the way for the petro-chemical industry to reap enormous profits, cloaked in the language of the potential economic benefit to workers.

“This report greases the skids for hydrofracking to start as soon as possible in New York.  This is a terrible blow against the environment and the communities in the Marcellus Shale region, which will be negatively impacted by the damage done to their water supply, land, and the natural beauty of that area,” said Peter LaVenia, state Party co-chair.

“The Green Party of New York State is opposed to the fracking process, and calls for and supports a total ban.  Greens from around the state have been actively involved from the beginning in resisting and fighting the gas and oil industry, promoting the Avella/Colton ban  legislation and educating the public about this very ungreen process”, said GPNYS downstate Fracking Coordinator Carl Lundgren.  “ Further  fossil-fuel development – with its demands for new and dangerous infrastructure -  will starve conservation-led approaches to a renewable energy future  of the capital and intelligence they need now.”

“It doesn’t matter how long the SGEIS is, it isn’t regulation: it’s a study”, said GPNYS upstate Fracking Coordinator Mike Bernhard, referring to the Supplementary Generic Environmental Impact Study, to which a socio-economic  impact study was appended today.   “The original 1992 GEIS on gas and oil mining was never codified as law or regulation, but the DEC issued permits nonetheless.”   The state plans to begin issuing permits as soon as the comment period on the current study ends, without first codifying regulations.

“If the state intended the Department of Environmental Conservation to conserve the environment, it wouldn’t have preempted municipalities from controlling drilling”, notes Cecile Lawrence, GP candidate for Tioga County legislature.  “It wouldn’t have gifted gascorp with the Compulsory Integration law that allows drillers to horizontally drill unleased land.  And it wouldn’t have kept quiet when tens of thousands of leases – with no environmental or landowner protections –    were being signed.  The SGEIS won’t change those facts.”

The outcome of the DEC’s report on the safety of hydrofracking shows how intertwined the interests of the Cuomo administration are with those of the natural gas companies trying to extract natural gas from the Marcellus shale.  Instead of acknowledging natural gas extraction will harm the environment the agency is supposed to protect: the water, ground, and air of New York, the agency has shown its true colors not as an environmental protection agency but as a greenwashing agency for large corporations.  Protecting the environment means standing up against large corporate interests and speaking harsh truths about the dangers of hydrofracking, which are apparent in every place it has occurred, destroying the local environment and landscape.  Unfortunately, since the DEC is unwilling to do so, it is now up to the people of New York to put a stop to hydrofracking any way they can,” said party co-chair Howie Hawkins.

“Natural gas is a bridge to nowhere, not the future of energy.  In Germany the government has decided to increase the feed-in tariff for solar panels, encouraging homes and businesses to go renewable in a climate and latitude similar to New York’s, while at the same time decreasing reliance on nuclear power.  Here in New York, the Cuomo regime has decided that its interest lies not in making the sane but tough choice to move toward 100% carbon-free energy generation, but to bow to their corporate friends in the gas industry.  A report released earlier this year by Cornell University scholars showed shale gas extraction has an even greater impact on global warming than the dirtiest of fossil fuels – coal, because it is methane, which traps more heat in the atmosphere over the short-to-medium term.  Allowing hydrofracking will speed us on the path of uncontrollable climate change, and with the increasing incidence of damaging storms such as Hurricane Irene, we cannot afford to continue moving in that direction.  The Green Party of New York State will stand with the people of New York working tirelessly to prevent hydrofracking and for the development of a truly green economy,” added LaVenia.

 

CDOG /un-naturalgas.org invites you to join the
DAY OF ACTION  SEPTEMBER 24, 2011

We are not upstate / downstate. We are not city / country. We are all watersheds, all people, all ecosystems.

We are UNITED against drilling.

On September 24, 2011, throughout the day, communities across NYS and beyond will demonstrate, each in their own unique way and with their own local focus, their opposition to the intensively industrializing process of extracting ‘natural’ gas that threatens the environmental and economic well-being of all residents.

Please keep checking back, or subscribe to the RSS for updates.

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6/25/11 Day of Action event in Sharon Springs, NY

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More video of the Foley Square rally:

 

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The Afton Gas Impacts Committee organized  ”Celebrate Our Clean Water”at Foster Park, Afton, NY, on the Susquehanna River. Participants returned their clean tap water to the Susquehanna and pledged to protect it. Town Historian Charles Decker recounted The Susquehanna in Afton’s history. Pat McElligot spoke on “Water–The Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy’s View.” Music was provided by Steve Eisenberg, Kathy Shimberg & Friends.

 

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