Press Release: November 18, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2015
Contact: LuAnne Kozma, Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan
(231) 944-8750 luanne AT letsbanfracking DOT org
Michigan ban fracking ballot initiative petition collects 150,000 signatures
Group determined to get a statewide ban on fracking and frack wastes on the ballot
Charlevoix, Michigan – The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan, a statewide ballot initiative campaign (www.letsbanfracking.org), reached the end of a six-month signature-collecting period with over 150,000 signatures. The Committee says it is keeping all of its options open for getting on the ballot in 2016 or 2018. The minimum number of valid signatures needed is 252,523. The ultimate deadline for submitting signatures for 2016 is June 1, 2016.
Campaign director LuAnne Kozma credits a volunteer base of over 500 people from around the state for working on the campaign. “Resistance is growing. We more than doubled our signatures from our campaign two years ago, thanks to a more trained and dedicated team of people and passionate support from tens of thousands of Michiganders who signed the petition. We expected volunteers to spend 10 to 20 hours of their time to bring in 200 signatures, which is not hard to do. Some heroic individuals went beyond what a volunteer normally does, with one person gathering over 7,000 signatures, another over 5,000, several over 2,000 and many collected over 500. Getting on the ballot by the grassroots is a heroic effort in every sense of the word. What we accomplished is enough signatures to get on the ballot in Colorado, however the bar is set very high in Michigan.”
The Committee commissioned a second poll of Michigan voters in November to gauge public sentiment. A strong 59% majority believes Michigan should ban fracking and frack wastes before the industry creates health problems for residents. An even larger majority - 66% - wants to ban frack waste in Michigan. Poll results can be found on the Committee’s website at www.letsbanfracking.org.
Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, and a Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan spokesperson, noted that “Fracking by Marathon Oil continues in Crawford County and elsewhere in Michigan as we speak. The industry has no plan to quit and neither do we. We will continue with the campaign to protect our climate, water, land and health by putting a ban on fracking and frack waste on the ballot. Stay tuned.”
"The Michigan Nurses Association recently passed a resolution stating it ‘supports a ban on fracking due to the risks to public health and the environment.’ This is a step forward in the labor movement in Michigan -- to stand up for the health of our communities and the Great Lakes watershed. This should be a rallying call to all medical and professional organizations, unions, teachers, farmers and fishers, and bakers and brewers to come forward and join us in this struggle to make Michigan frack-free," said Diane Weckerle, a retired public health nurse with the Committee.
“This is also a call for Michiganders who want to see this on the ballot to get involved in our campaign, because direct democracy requires active participation,” added Kozma. “The ‘procrastination penalty’ we are facing with global warming is we are not acting fast enough. If a group of 500 people can gather 150,000 signatures on a shoestring, a group of 1,500 with more financial support can get us all the way. It won’t be long before we go over the top, but we need more committed involvement and immediate substantial financial support from businesses, community-based organizations, resident groups, unions, and individuals to make the statewide ban on fracking and frack wastes on the ballot a reality,” said Kozma.
“These new poll results show that Michigan voters continue to have major concerns about fracking and frack waste harming Michigan’s environment and damaging their health,” said Jim Williams, a polling analyst at Public Policy Polling, the organization commissioned to conduct the poll. “As more and more voters learn about this issue, they are increasingly siding against the fracking industry across demographic groups.”
The ballot language can be found at the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s website www.letsbanfracking.org and also on the Michigan Secretary of State’s website.
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