Michigan Democrats want to celebrate Valentine’s Day by “breaking up” with hydraulic fracturing by introducing a bill to ban it across the state.
Fracking “has become needy, sucking up a lot of resources and has taken too much control,” Michigan Democratic state Rep. Sarah Roberts, the bill’s sponsor, said during a Thursday press conference. “We think its time to take a break, re-evaluate our relationship and start fresh with some new rules.”
The proposed legislation would place a moratorium on new drilling permits, allow local governments to regulate fracking and require wells to be 5,000 feet from sensitive locations like schools, hospitals, homes and public parks. One of the justifications for the moratorium is to protect Michigan’s tourism industry.
The bill would also require oil and gas companies to disclose the chemical composition of fluids used in fracking operations. Fracking proponents note that non-disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process allows natural gas companies to maintain valuable trade secrets.
The Sierra Club, which has made numerous scientifically dubious claims about fracking’s supposed side effects, was present at the press conference. The environmental organization still claims “fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans” despite numerous scientific studies.
Michigan Democrats even created a website encouraging the public to support the bill, which is unlikely to pass through Michigan’s Republican controlled legislature. Indeed, past attempts to ban fracking in Michigan failed to even collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.
“Three petition drives to ban fracking have failed to gain voter support in Michigan,” Rich Studley, president of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, told Michigan Live. “House Democrats now want to impose a moratorium on energy exploration that voters have repeatedly declined to sign.”
Robert’s most recent legislative action was sponsoring a resolution which would make feminine-hygiene products qualify as an eligible expense for flexible spending accounts.