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E-M:/ Paranoia in the eye of the beholder



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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Enviro-Mich folks:

Last week I posted a note about Gov. Engler's advocacy for a resolution
to be passed by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission to support
drilling under the Great Lakes.  From that have come at least two newspaper
articles: Jeff Alexander of the Muskegon Chronicle wrote a fine article that
showed up in Sunday's paper and is accessible through the M-Live web page

< http://mu.live.com/news/index.ssf?/news/stories/oilman$01.frm >

and an article in the Traverse City Record Eagle by Bill O'Brien discusses
Congressman Bart Stupak's reaction (Stupak sponsored legislation to ban oil
and gas drilling under the Great Lakes) and quotes extensively from Hal
Fitch, the state's top regulator of oil and gas who pushed for passage of
the resolution.  Find this story on the TCRE web page at:

<http://www.record-eagle.com/1999/jan/31drill.htm >

The stories shed light on the reaction of the state officials in particular.
Fitch has many rationales offered as to why this is a good idea in the
Traverse City article.  In the Muskegon Chronicle article the most notable
quote is from Governor Engler's press secretary John Truscott, as follows:

"I think these people who are concerned suffer a lot of times from deep
paranoia."  

Well, as the old adage runs, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they
aren't out to get you.  After all, this didn't get out because John E and John
T decided to put out one of their prolific press releases, it came out because
people in another state tripped over the info and sent it to us.

Both articles point out how the Engler reps are pussy-footing around the real
point.  The primary question for the state, wearing its dual hats as regulator
and owner of oil rights, is whether ON THE WHOLE it is in the interests of
the people of Michigan to promote oil and gas development under the Great
Lakes now, later or ever.  Responding to pressure from companies seeking
permission to drill is probably the worst possible reason to proceed when the
state is so much in control of the situation.  Maybe the Engler
administration needs a few "scientific studies and evidence" to explain that
oil and gas doesn't go bad, that under classic economic theory a finite
natural resource will ultimately go up in value (especially compared to the
depression era prices they will get today) and that the public has a right to
know what they are up to since the Great Lakes and the development of oil and
gas rights under them are of interest to us all.

Anne Woiwode



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