OK's bill to ban lake drilling
expected to sign, despite his support of increasing oil
-- Legislation to prohibit new drilling for oil and natural
gas under Michigan's portion of the Great Lakes is on its
way to Gov. John Engler, who has opposed such a ban.
The House voted 97-12 Tuesday to approve
the bill that would permanently prohibit the state from
issuing leases to drill under the lakes. The federal government's
ban on such drilling is scheduled to end in September 2003.
"This bill is the right environmental
policy," said Republican Rep. Scott Shackleton of Sault
Ste. Marie, who sponsored the bill. "It tells the federal
government to keep their hands and their straws out of our
The bill would allow existing wells to
continue operating. There are seven producing wells now
in Manistee and Bay counties.
Michigan is the only state bordering the
Great Lakes that allows slant drilling.
Rep. Julie Dennis, D-Muskegon, said the
state has waited a long time for the drilling ban.
"It's going to protect our lake shore,"
she said about the bill. "Thank God, Almighty, it's here
The House had to approve a few minor changes
made by the Senate before sending the bill to Engler.
Although Engler has supported increasing
the number of wells under the Great Lakes, a spokeswoman
has said she expects the bill to become law.
Supporters of the bill say it will cap
the potential danger of pollution to the Great Lakes. Opponents
say slant drilling -- or drilling done at a diagonal from
the shore -- is safe and that extensive resources lie under
Eight conservative Republicans voted against
the bill, including Reps. Susan Tabor of Eaton County's
Delta Township, Steve Vear of Hillsdale, Scott Hummel of
DeWitt, Larry DeVuyst of Alma, Leon Drolet of Macomb County's
Chesterfield Township, Clark Bisbee of Jackson, Ken Bradstreet
of Gaylord and Cameron Brown of Sturgis.
Six of Michigan's seven Democratic and
Republican gubernatorial candidates support the drilling
ban. GOP businessman Ed Hamilton is the only candidate who
doesn't support the ban. Engler can't run for re-election
because of term limits.
This information is posted
for nonprofit educational purposes, in accordance with U.S.
Code Title 17, Chapter 1,Sec. 107 copyright laws.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml.
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for
purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use," you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.