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Resolution of Support for Hydrocarbon Development Planning

March 1, 1998 | By Hans Voss
and Keith Schneider
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service

WHEREAS, in 1980 Michigan took an extraordinary step to bridge economic and environmental goals in the Pigeon River Country State Forest by developing an agreement between energy companies, the Department of Natural Resources and several conservation groups to safeguard the wild forest by implementing a hydrocarbon development plan which also enabled companies to tap a reserve of oil and gas worth more than $400 million, and

WHEREAS, since 1989, more than 6,000 wells have been drilled in the Antrim Shale formation, underlying much of the northern Lower Peninsula turning a magnificent sweep of quiet forest, clean rivers, and small communities into the third-largest natural gas field in the United States, and

WHEREAS, in 1995 the Michigan Energy Reform Coalition formed a statewide alliance of 25 organizations and township governments representing more than 200,000 residents, with one of its core goals being to protect Michigan’s rivers, streams, and lakes by requiring hydrocarbon development plans, based on the Pigeon River Country model, and

WHEREAS, in 1998, as identified in the in-depth report, Rivers at Risk, nine river watersheds in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula are at serious risk from mismanaged oil and gas development (the nine threatened watersheds include: the Au Sable River, the Betsie River, the Black River, the Pigeon River, the Sturgeon River; the Boardman River; the Jordan River; the Manistee River; and the Thunder Bay River), and

WHEREAS, the Michigan Environmental Science Board, at the request of Gov. John Engler, conducted an evaluation of drilling beneath the Great Lakes and concluded that in order to protect the coastal ecosystem the state should require hydrocarbon development planning before Great Lakes bottomlands are leased.

WHEREAS, the State of Michigan is responsible for protecting the Lower Peninsula’s last great wild places from unnecessary damage from oil and gas development, and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the legislature, appropriate state agencies, local governments, and public interest organizations should take immediate action to require hydrocarbon development planning in the nine identified watersheds and the Lake Michigan coast.


ADOPTED THIS DAY OF ______________________, BY THE _________________________________



SIGNED _________________________

Michigan Land Use Institute

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