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Wednesday, April 10,2013

Banning fracking in Michigan

Signature-gathering campaign to ban fracking starts this week

by Sam Inglot
Sam Inglot/City Pulse

 This story was changed on April 10 to say that the ballot question would be on the November 2014 election ballot, not the August 2014 election ballot.

Tuesday, April 9 — Friday kicks off a six-month signature-gathering campaign for a group that’s trying to ban fracking in Michigan.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a controversial method of harvesting natural gas from underground shale formations. The process involves shooting a chemical cocktail into the ground to break up the rock and release the gas for extraction. Opponents of the practice say fracking is dangerous for groundwater supplies and the environment.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan is making its second attempt at barring hydraulic fracturing in the state.

The group has from Friday to Oct. 1 to gather 258,088 petition signatures to get a question on the November 2014 election ballot asking voters whether they want to see fracking banned in Michigan.

To read the ballot language in its entirety, click here.

Last year, the campaign tried to get a constitutional amendment on the November statewide ballot. But with a late start and little funding, the group only garnered 30,000 signatures, said LuAnne Kozma, statewide campaign director for the committee. To Kozma, last year was a learning experience.

“We basically wanted to see what could happen,” Kozma said. “We definitely raised a lot of awareness and had some pretty awesome results.”

When all five state constitutional amendment ballot proposals got shot down in the November election, the group decided to go a different direction this year and will instead be seeking a ban within state law.

Pam Rymanowicz, campaign coordinator for Ingham, Clinton, Shiawassee, Livingston and Oceana counties, said she bought a motorhome and is planning to travel across the state gathering signatures. She’s calling her wheels “The Fracking Mobile.”

If you’re a Lansing resident and don’t want to wander the streets looking for a petition to sign, the group will be at the Allen Street Farmers Market every Wednesday throughout the signature gathering campaign, Rymanowicz said.

Kozma said the campaign is a “grassroots” initiative that’s entirely volunteer-run and all of the money for the effort is raised through donations. She said if you wish to help out the cause, you could sign up to volunteer or donate at: www.letsbanfracking.org

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