October 5, 2016

Reps. Roberts and Irwin Propose Stronger Fracking Laws

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016

Contact: Rep. Sarah Roberts
Phone: (517)-373-1180           
Contact: Rep. Jeff Irwin        
Phone: (734)-834-7152           

Bills would protect air, water and soil from fracking waste

LANSING — State Representatives Sarah Roberts (D-St. Clair Shores) and Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) have announced a six-bill package of legislation to address threats to Michigan’s land, air and water as a result of fracking. Together, these bills address gaps in Michigan laws regarding the disposal of fracking waste and the leakage of methane at drilling sites.
“Other states are seeing fracking operations that dump waste, pollute the air and water, and are possibly causing earthquakes,” said Rep. Roberts. “In Michigan, we need to update our oil and gas laws to ensure we protect our environment and the public’s health.”
“Disposing of fracking waste is one of the biggest threats to our water,” said Nic Clark of Clean Water Action. “These bills protect water quality by prohibiting any dumping in groundwater aquifers and by enacting strict standards for radioactive fracking waste.”
The bills in the package would:
·        Ban radioactive fracking waste from landfills if the radioactivity exceeds strict limits
·        Require that water used in the fracking process be in compliance with state guidelines and be cleaned up before disposal
·        Ban fracking operations from injecting fracking wastes or water into an aquifer
·        Require oil and gas well operators to use methane recapture systems to reduce methane released by 99 percent
·        Prohibit oil and gas wells from burning off (flaring) methane emissions
·        Require oil and gas well operators to set up a system to check for leaks of dangerous gases on a regular basis and promptly repair any leaks found.
“Michigan is planning to meet the requirements of the Clean Power Plan by switching from coal to natural gas and renewable energy sources,” said Mike Berkowitz of the Sierra Club. “But methane released from the extraction of gas and oil is 20 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide, so we need to ensure gas isn’t leaking from sloppily drilled wells.”
“Michigan deserves solid rules to protect water quality and prevent wasteful or careless drilling practices,” said Rep. Irwin. “Preventing methane leaks is important to combat climate change, and it also ensures that oil and gas drillers are running professional operations that are respectful of our air and water.”
For more information about fracking, the bills in the package or to sign a petition supporting the legislation, go to www.protectmiwater.com.