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E-M:/ engler lets drilling ban take effect -- reluctantly...

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

A churlish release from the state's chief executive.

Governor Will Not Sign Directional Drilling Ban

Refuses to let "nonissue" be focus of gubernatorial campaign
Governor John Engler today sent a letter to Michigan legislators explaining
his decision to leave House Bill 5118, the ban on directional drilling under
the Great Lakes, unsigned. As a result, the bill will take effect as
stipulated in Michigan's Constitution (Article IV, Section 33). Engler said
he took this action despite his opposition to the bill in order to focus
attention on the real environmental issues facing Michigan.

"No candidate for governor should be able to run for office claiming that
they will sign this measure and be given credit by the public for having an
environmental policy for Michigan's future," wrote Governor Engler. "Let the
debates begin but not over this nonissue."

Engler noted that directional drilling has been used safely under the Great
Lakes since the 1970s and that both Governor Milliken and Governor Blanchard
granted permits for these wells. In addition, after a comprehensive review
by the Michigan Environmental Science Board, the practice was found to pose
virtually no risk to the Great Lakes and extra precautions were adopted to
address land-use and environmental protection issues on the shoreline.

"Michigan's commitment to protect our precious natural resources remains
second to none," Engler continued. "Our countless environmental and natural
resource management successes, however, are due in large part to the
traditional willingness of policymakers to separate emotion from sound
science. Unfortunately, HB 5118 runs contrary to Michigan's tradition of
managing its resources based on the best available science."

In addition, Engler noted several other key concerns:

The directional drilling ban robs the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund
of revenues that could be spent on environmental protection.
This action runs contrary to the national goal of increasing domestic energy
production and reducing dependence on foreign sources.
In the process, the door was opened for additional federal intervention to
take control of our Great Lakes.
At a press availability in Detroit, Engler today also noted that while a
directional drilling ban has been the focus of much debate, more pressing
issues facing the Great Lakes remain as challenges, including:

combating aquatic nuisance species;
diversion issues - Annex 2001 implementation;
preventing non-point source pollution;
continuing to fight for increased federal funding for sewer infrastructure;
supplying technical and financial support for Remedial Action Plans (RAPs)
and Lakewide area Management Plans (LaMPs); and,
reducing mercury loadings through air deposition reductions.

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