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E-M:/ Legislative Action Taken to Protect Great Lakes

For Immediate Release                                     For More Information:
January 25, 2002                                              Brian Imus, 734-662-6597        

Legislative Action Taken to Protect Great Lakes
State House of Representatives Votes to Ban Oil and Gas Drilling

Yesterday, in an overwhelming vote of 98 to 7, the Michigan House of Representatives voted to ban any new directional drilling activities in the Great Lakes from along Michigan’s shoreline. The bill, HB 5118 offered by Rep.Scott Shackleton, prohibits directional drilling underneath the Great Lakes starting March 1, 2002.  PIRGIM applauded this monumental step towards permanent protection of the Great Lakes.

“This vote sends an unmistakable message to Governor Engler and the oil and gas industry – the Great Lakes are a national treasure worthy of protection, not exploitation,” stated Brian Imus, Campaign Director for PIRGIM. “It’s critical that the State Senate send an equally strong message.”

Today’s vote mirrors the broad opposition to drilling expressed by the public. In poll after poll, Michiganders strongly support banning any oil drilling in the Great Lakes. This opposition exists for good reason, according to drilling opponents.

Having oil and gas drilling sites along the shorelinedamages sensitive wetlands and wildlife unique to the Great Lakes with toxic materials. Some of these chemicals used in the drilling process that cancontaminate the shoreline include arsenic, lead, and mercury.    

“While PIRGIM is heartened by the overwhelming bipartisan opposition to drilling in the Great Lakes, the struggle against oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes is not over,” stated Imus. “Senator Sikkema and other Senate leaders should move quickly with a vote to permanently ban drilling underneath the Great Lakes.”  

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PIRIGM is a nonprofit, non-partisan publicinterest advocacy group with 10,000 members across the state.

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Brian Imus
PIRGIM Advocate
122 S. Main St. #370
Ann Arbor, MI 48104