Gloves off in Michigan's fracking debate

Aug. 6, 2013 at 7:22 AM

LANSING, Mich., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Opponents of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan are standing in the way of good jobs and energy independence, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce said.

Most of the hydraulic fracturing campaigns in Michigan targeted the Antrim shale formation in the northern section of the state's Lower Peninsula since the 1960s. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce said the state could be a regional leader in responsible oil and gas exploration despite growing opposition to the use of hydraulic fracturing, known also as fracking.

Jason Geer, director of energy and environmental policy for the chamber, said more than 12,000 wells were fracked in the state since the 1960s with few environmental problems.

"Our state is uniquely positioned to benefit from continued responsible exploration for natural gas since we have a substantial amount of shale gas waiting to be recovered and the ability to store a larger amount than other states," he said in a statement.

The chamber's statewide advocacy campaign comes as members of the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan try to get a measure on the November 2014 ballot to halt the practice. The environmental group said fracking could lead to contamination of Michigan land. It has 12 signature drives planned for this week.

Chamber President Rich Studley said the "dangerous petition drive" is "based on fear and emotion," and is a direct attack on the economic prospects for the state.

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