Hawke Fracassa /
Article courtesy of The Detroit News
Nov. 2, 2001
ST. CLAIR SHORES
-- Activist Dee Macko sees the decision by Congress on Thursday
to ban new oil and gas drilling under the Great Lakes as
wise, and environmentally smart.
"They have no business drilling (in the
Great Lakes) because that is drinking water for millions
of us," said Macko, 66, of St. Clair Shores. "If we lose
(the water), we're dead. There's no guarantee that drilling
is 100-percent safe and that you won't have accidents. Congress
was right to say 'Stay out of the Great Lakes.'"
The ban comes as President Bush is pushing
for more domestic energy production. But even slant drilling
from the shoreline into the lakes is hotly opposed by many
people in the state.
James Fisher, a retired Michigan State
University professor of petroleum geology, said it's a victory
for Michigan's shorelines.
"The shoreline is valuable property and
from an esthetic point of view the idea of intruding with
rigs is objectionable to some people," Fisher said. "If
I had a seaside cottage, I wouldn't want a rig in my back
yard, and now there will be no more of them for awhile."
But he added environmentalists' fears
that the lakes would be polluted by oil and gas are negligible.
"As far as petroleum geologists are concerned,
it is not a big deal," he said.
"As a naturalist, I want the natural environment
preserved. But at the same time, I have worked in the oil
industry and it employs a lot of people and produces a product
that's of importance."
Under Congress' plan, the Great Lakes
provision would prevent federal agencies from issuing permits
for new drilling in them through Sept. 30, 2003, while the
government produces a study on the environmental effects
that such drilling might have.
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