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E-M:/ Directional Drilling Ban Passed by Michigan Senate Committee

Senate Committee Reports Bill to Permanently
Ban Drilling Below the Great Lakes

Today, the Senate Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee reported HB 5118 (Shackleton) to permanently ban directional drilling below the Great Lakes. On a vote of 4-0, the committee (Senators Sikkema, North, Peters, and Young) moved the bill to the full Senate, where action is expected in the next few weeks. The Committee removed language that would have allowed the administration to issue leases in cases of energy emergency.

“It’s time for the Senate and the Governor to complete action on the ban to prevent directional drilling below the lakes,” stated James Clift, Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC). “The risk that drilling poses to the lakes and Michigan’s fragile coastal are not worth the minimal  supplies of oil below the lakes.”

“The bill as passed by the  Committee clearly affirms what we’ve heard from folks throughout the state – the people of Michigan want the Great Lakes and their shorelines permanently protected from oil and gas drilling,” said Cyndi Roper of Clean Water Action. “We are now waiting on the State Senate to move us forward in the process.”

The ban passed the Michigan House of Representatives January 24, 2002, on a strong bipartisan vote of 98-7. Attempts to limit the ban to two years and to allow additional leases were soundly defeated.

 “The Senate Committee’s action today signifies a growing awareness of the magnificence of the Great Lakes and their importance to the state of Michigan,” said Tanya Cabala, Michigan Director of the Lake Michigan Federation.

Environmental groups have been systematically surveying senators via telephones and e-mails regarding their positions and are concerned by eleven Senators who are either undecided or opposed to the ban.  As of today, the records show that:

22 Senators support a permanent ban –

Bill Bullard (R-Highland Twp.)
Diane Byrum (D-Onondaga)
John Cherry (D-Clio)
Ken DeBeaussaert (D-Chesterfield Twp.)
Christopher Dingell (D-Trenton)
Bob Emerson (D-Flint)
George Hart (D-Dearborn)
Shirley Johnson (R-Royal Oak)
Don Koivisto (D-Ironwood)
Burton Leland (D-Detroit)
Thaddeus McCotter (R-Livonia)
Arthur Miller (D-Warren)
Raymond Murphy (D-Detroit)
Walter North (R-St. Ignace)
Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.)
Allan Sanborn (R-Richmond)
John Schwarz (R-Battle Creek)
Ken Sikkema (R-Grandville)
Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem)
Leon Stille (R-Ferrysburg)
William Van Regenmorter (R-Georgetown Twp.)
Joe Young (D-Detroit)

10 Senators are undecided about supporting a permanent ban –

Loren Bennett (R-Canton)
Dan DeGrow (R-Port Huron)
Joanne Emmons (R-Big Rapids)
Valde Garcia (R-St. Johns)
Harry Gast (R-St. Joseph)
Mike Goschka (R-Brant)
Philip Hoffman (R-Horton)
Beverly Hammerstrom (R-Temperance)
George McManus (R-Traverse City)
Glenn Steil (R-Grand Rapids)

3 Senators oppose a permanent ban and support drilling –

Joel Gougeon (R-Bay City)
Bill Schuette (R-Lansing)
Dale Shugars (R-Portage)

2 Senators are not voting due to illness –

Mat Dunaskiss (R-Lansing)
Jackie Vaughn (D-Detroit)

James Clift, MEC  (517) 487-9539
Cyndi Roper, CWA (616) 742-4084
Brian Imus, PIRGIM (734) 662-6597
Tanya Cabala, LMF (616) 850-0745