BP oil spill fuels yet another drilling ban proposal

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June 22, 2010

LANSING, Michigan: Florida isn't the only state considering a drilling ban. This past week Michigan officials announced that they are considering a drilling ban for the Great Lakes. Although the state is not directly affected by this year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it has spurred legislators to consider the possibility of a similar event in the northern waters.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill was the result of an April 20, 2010 explosion on a British Petroleum (BP) drilling rig. Specifically the spill is in federal waters off of the Louisiana coastline. Approximately 20,000 gallons of oil are reported to have spilled daily into the ocean waters. A federal ban on drilling in the Great Lakes was put in place in 2005.[1] A state ban took effect in 2002. The seven drills that were operating at the time of the ban were allowed to continue, however, no new wells could be dug. One is for oil, four are natural gas and two are hydrocarbon wells.[2]

Rep. Judy Nerat argues that although a current drilling ban exists regarding the Great Lakes, the law could easily be changed by the Michigan Legislature and Governor of Michigan. "While there is a ban in place prohibiting drilling in the Great Lakes, it is not strong enough. Drilling in the Great Lakes will only be prohibited in Michigan as long as our legislature sees fit to continue the prohibition," he said.[3]

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