[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Poll: Michiganders say "NO" to GL drilling

Enviro-Mich message from "Lisa Wozniak" <lcvmi@igc.org>

      League of Conservation Voters Education Fund

Contact: Lisa Wozniak, (734) 327-7154
Email: lisa_wozniak@lcvef.org
August 28, 2001

 Michigan Citizens Agree: Oil and Water Don't Mix.

August 28, 2001 - More than six in 10 likely voters in Michigan are opposed
to oil and gas exploration under the Great Lakes according to results from a
statewide poll released today by the League of Conservation Voters Education

"Michiganders simply don't want to see more drilling, more development along
the coastline or anything that poses increased risks for the Great Lakes,"
said Lisa Wozniak, LCVEF Great Lakes Regional Director. "With such a tiny
amount of oil and gas and such a unique and critical resource to protect,
the public just doesn't buy into more drilling under the Great Lakes."

Others point to the importance of the lakes in our lives as reason for this
strong public ethic against increased drilling under the Great Lakes.
"Michigan's culture and economy is built on these lakes," said Tanya Cabala
of the Lake Michigan Federation.  "There is just no excuse for endangering
our fabulous Lake Michigan coastline with more oil derricks and industrial
development.  The value of our pristine lakeshore simply dwarfs the value of
the miniscule amount of oil that might be sucked out from underneath the

Great Lakes drilling is being reviewed at the state Department of Natural
Resources and Governor Engler has proposed moving forward with granting new
drilling permits for wells under the Great Lakes.  "The Governor is arguing
that new drilling permits won't endanger the Great Lakes.  However, local
governments and community groups understand that just one oil leak or
release of hydrogen sulfide gas could send residents or tourists to the
hospital, damaging fragile coastal resources and jeopardizing local
economies," said James Clift, Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental

"The poll released today shows that Michigan voters are deeply concerned
about Great Lakes drilling and they are willing to back that concern up with
their votes," said Lisa Wozniak, LCVEF Great Lakes regional director.  "In
fact, we already see candidates lining up and positioning themselves on this
issue for next fall - clean air, clean water and respect for the outdoors
are fundamental Michigan values and these results just underscores this."

The League of Conservation Voters Education Fund is a nonprofit, nonpartisan
501(c)(3) organization dedicated to raising awareness about environmental
issues, increasing the capacity and effectiveness of state and local
environmental groups, and encouraging citizens to participate in the
democratic process.  For more information, visit www.VoteEnvironment.org.

Statewide poll results

1. The results of our recent statewide survey show that Michigan voters are
strongly opposed to oil drilling under the Great Lakes.  As a general
principle, voters oppose drilling for oil and gas underneath the Great
Lakes, and they offer clear support for continuing the state moratorium that
prevents any new directional drilling from taking place.  In addition, when
offered arguments on both side of the issue, a clear majority of Michigan
voters favor a complete ban on drilling for oil and gas underneath the Great

2. As an introductory question, survey respondents were asked whether they
would "be in favor of or opposed to increased drilling for oil and gas under
the Great Lakes."  Sixty-one percent of Michigan voters oppose oil and gas
drilling under the Great Lakes; opponents of drilling outnumber supporters
by more than a two-to-one margin.  In addition, much of the opposition to
drilling is strongly felt; fully 43 percent of those polled say that they
"strongly oppose" oil drilling under the Great Lakes.

3. Opposition to drilling cuts across demographic and geographic subgroups
within the electorate.  For example, drilling under the Great Lakes is
opposed by:

* 63 percent of women and 58 percent of men;
*  70 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of independents, and a 49-percent
plurality of Republicans;
*  62 percent of college-educated voters, and 61 percent of non-college
educated voters;
*  61 percent of whites and 62 percent of African-Americans;
*  63 percent of voters under 50 and 59 percent of those age 50 and over;
*  A majority of voters in every media market in the state.

4. Survey respondents were also told that there is a moratorium on new
directional drilling under the Lakes, and were asked whether they would
favor or oppose a continuation of that moratorium.  A clear 54-percent
majority of those polled favor continuing the moratorium, with more than
one-third of those polled (37 percent) strongly favoring its continuation.

5. Survey respondents were also offered arguments from both supporters and
opponents of a complete ban on oil drilling under the Great Lakes, as shown

(SOME PEOPLE/ OTHER PEOPLE) say we should continue to allow directional
drilling for oil and gas underneath the Great Lakes.  With sky high gas
prices and our country facing an energy crunch, we need all the oil and gas
we can get.  Directional drilling has been permitted in Michigan for 22
years without one major incident causing harm to the Great Lakes or Michigan
's natural resources.  With the proper environmental and safety guidelines,
directional drilling should be allowed to continue.


(OTHER PEOPLE/ SOME PEOPLE) say we should ban drilling for oil and gas
underneath the Great Lakes because of the potential harm it could cause to
coastal lands and water quality.  We rely on the Great Lakes for our
drinking water, our economy, tourism, and recreation.  It is not worth
risking this valuable resource for very little oil and gas that will
practically no impact on gas prices and may never help Michigan consumers.

After hearing these two arguments, in rotating order, respondents were asked
which one they agreed with more.  A 57-percent majority of those polled
agreed with the call to ban all drilling under the Great Lakes.  Again, the
sentiment in favor of a ban was strongly felt, with a full two-thirds of
those who support a ban on drilling saying that they support it strongly.

Lisa Wozniak
Great Lakes Regional Director
League of Conservation Voters Education Fund
208 1/2 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 327-7154
(734) 327-7668 fax

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"