May 16, 2018
Contact: LuAnne Kozma
231-944-8750

Press Release May 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2018

Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan

(231) 944-8750          luanne@letsbanfracking.org

 

Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan reaches 252,523 signatures, hopes to make 2018 ballot

Charlevoix, Michigan – The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a statewide ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org), announced today that it has now collected beyond the required minimum number of signatures, 252,523, and is collecting a "cushion" it hopes will be in time for the November 2018 ballot. 

Campaign director LuAnne Kozma said "It's now up to the new volunteers and dedicated volunteers that have been with the campaign for a long time to collect a healthy 'cushion' of extra signatures. It's not too late to join the campaign." In the event the Committee does not have a large enough number of extra signatures beyond the minimum, volunteers will collect through the summer and submit the signatures for the 2020 election.

The deadline for filing signatures for statutory initiatives for the 2018 election is May 30.

The Committee urges those who want to see the measure on the ballot to volunteer by going to the campaign website at www.letsbanfracking.org.

A majority of Michigan voters favor a ban on horizontal fracking and frack wastes according to polls. Over 70 horizontal frack well permits have been granted by the Michigan DEQ and frack wastes are disposed of in some of over 1,400 injection wells. New natural gas plants proposed for Michigan would make Michigan dependent on fracked gas for decades to come. Vermont, New York, Hawaii and Maryland have banned fracking, and other state legislatures are considering bans.

"The devastating health impacts are becoming more known and studied, with now over 1,300 peer-reviewed studies, as compiled by Concerned Health Professionals of New York in the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking," said Kozma. 

The Michigan ban fracking ballot statewide initiative campaign began its current petition in 2015. In 2016, the Committee filed a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment that the signature-gathering law restricting signers to a 180-day period is unconstitutional for statutory initiatives under Article 2 Section 9. The courts said the case was not ripe, because the committee had not yet collected and submitted its signatures "albeit during a time frame outside of the 180 day rule" first, and did not hear the case.

When the Committee submits the signatures, it will file a new lawsuit when the State rejects the filing of signatures as insufficient. 

The Committee points out in its case filings that the constitution does not have any time restrictions for statutory initiative, as it does for referendum, nor does that section allow the Legislature to restrict the people’s constitutional right to statutory initiative.  Attorney General Frank Kelley struck down a previous version of the 180-day signature gathering law as unconstitutional in 1974 and for statutory initiatives it was not reversed. A new version of the law went into effect in 2016.

For more background on the history of initiative law and MCL 168.472a, the law restricting signature-gathering to 180 days which was created when a ballot initiative in the 1970s was seeking to limit legislators’ pay and pension increases, see the Committee’s press release from October 13, 2016:

http://www.letsbanfracking.org/press_release_october_13_2016

For more information about the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan:

The Committee seeks new volunteers and donors to join the effort. Sign up at the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s website www.letsbanfracking.org.

Court documents in the Committee’s lawsuit and the ballot language also can be found on the website.

1 Concerned Health Professionals of New York & Physicians for Social Responsibility. (2018, March ). Compendium of scientific, medical, and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking (unconventional gas and oil extraction) (5th ed.).

http://concernedhealthny.org/compendium/

 

 

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