Green activists have launched a third effort to ban fracking in Michigan, collecting signatures for a petition after the state’s Board of Elections approved the language on their proposal earlier this month.
The Detroit News editorial page reports:
This time, the committee is trying for a citizens initiative. That means if it can get enough signatures, the measure goes to the Legislature for an up or down vote. If it's approved by lawmakers, it becomes law and is not subject to gubernatorial veto. If no vote is taken, or the measure is defeated, the proposal goes automatically on the ballot.
Although Michigan has some of the most plentiful natural-gas reserves in America, including the Antrim Shale gas field reserves, production has remained lagging compared to other energy-rich states. Even so, Michigan gets around one-fifth of its natural gas from within its own borders.
Michigan workers and consumers alike experience the perks of American energy production. The recent boom has brought energy prices low, meaning households pay less for everything from gas to utilities to consumer goods. And because energy is a major input in manufacturing, states like Michigan, which crank out American goods, especially benefit.
The Committee to Ban Fracking’s latest effort is founded on misguided concerns. Numerous studies, including those conducted by the federal government, have found no link between fracking and groundwater contamination. Natural gas lets off less carbon than coal or oil, and its increased use has contributed mightily to the lowest emissions levels in 20 years.
And as the Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Education Foundation has noted, energy producers have been safely fracking in the state for more than 60 years. Michigan has been home to more than 12,000 wells, drilled and explored “without environmental incident,” the group reports.
With good reason, the Committee to Ban Fracking’s earlier two attempts have failed. Michigan residents should have the good sense to reject this latest effort, too.