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Fractured over fracking
A clarification and a correction for Patrick Sullivan’s December 12-18 article, “Fractured: Fissures in group over proposal to regulate natural gas drilling” in which I was featured.
First the clarification: Michigan Sierra Club’s Mike Berkowitz says scientific research indicates that regulated horizontal fracking can be done safely. The gas industry says the same.
The new organization Ban Michigan Fracking (BMF) and I say the opposite, that the science points the other way: horizontal fracking cannot be regulated safely, and Michigan should outlaw it.
The article highlighted differences between Sierra Club and BMF about pending Michigan House bills 5150 and 5151, but did not explain how the bills would work. The bills’ language provides for an industry-funded study, public comment, and a fracking moratorium. This may sound appealing at first glance.
But the end result would be a blueribbon advisory committee whose mission is to recommend “conditions” for fracking permits, regulations, and laws. Recommendation of a ban is not one of the committee’s options.
The DEQ along with the DNR would be the ones to choose committee members. The DEQ has long been on record that the conditions it is already putting on fracking permits protect the environment well enough.
The foregone conclusion of 5150 and 5151: The blue-ribbon committee would opt for Sierra Club’s, the industry’s, and the DEQ’s view over BMF’s. Horizontal fracking would resume, perhaps with different conditions.
Second, the correction: I am neither an incorporator nor an officer of BMF. However I support it now and expect to become active. www.banmichiganfracking.org .
Ellis Boal • Charlevoix
Services beyond abortion
Thanks to Claire Scerbak for her perspective on utilizing tax payer money for education and family services. I have utilized services at Planned Parenthood and all the services I have benefitted from included education and family services.
My spouse and I received our HIV education in order to get our marriage license there. I got my reproductive health care, including birth control and care and follow up when I was diagnosed with precancerous lesions.
Next it was fertility counseling, followed by my first positive pregnancy test. I checked out books for my daughter when I was pregnant with my second child to help her understand, “How the baby got in there.” Now I frequent the “There’s no place like home...for sex education,” link on their website. All of which meet my standard of education and family services.
I am, however, disappointed with her argument that “liberals” (and liberals alone I assume) have no problem with abortion. Personally, I have a problem with abortion. My problem is that it has become a whipping tool for which to beat women, liberals, Planned Parenthood, Democrats and Pro-choice Republicans.
Abortion is a legal option available to any woman - liberal or not. Abortion is a complex, emotional, emotive, and very personal decision. It is not a stump speech, it is not a rallying cry, it is not a scarlet letter. It is more complex than a three sentence LTE that boils a complex decision down to a divisive wedge.
I’m not asking anyone to change their feelings on abortion. I ask instead that you put aside judgment long enough to evaluate the merits of funding any agency that provides families with both education and family services.
And to clarify, the funding of which Claire speaks is strictly used for reproductive health care – not abortions.
Jennifer Kirkpatrick Johnson
Moore on comedy & beer
Michael Moore is Traverse City’s version of Steve Jobs: brilliant, industrious, creative, imaginative, perfectionistic. But, like Jobs, he can be vain and egotistical. Also like Jobs, Michael is a tad smitten with power.
And so it should not be surprising that Michael flexed his muscle when the promoters of a (heaven forbid) beer and music festival had the audacity to schedule their event on the same weekend in Traverse City as Michael’s comedy festival this coming February.
What was surprising is that, when the beer fest tried to work things out, Michael, the renowned liberal, grabbing a page from the Mitch McConnell/John Boehner book on compromise, refused to talk. And, then, when a couple of days later the beer people offered to move their event out of the downtown area, Michael said, “Sorry, it’s too late.”
The reason for this petulance is said to be the fact that there were a lot of “drunks” who staggered over from the beer fest to the joke fest last year and caused some problems. Perhaps, though others strongly dispute the allegation, and no one has produced police records of such incidents.
In any event, one of my sons who has done a little comedy in clubs in the Seattle area tells me that if there’s anyone who can handle an intoxicated person during a public performance, it’s a stand-up comedian. It’s part of the job, he says, and, he adds, it can actually be part of the fun of that kind of performing.
There’s no question but that Michael Moore has worked wonders for Traverse City, and that the community and the entire area are extremely grateful for his enterprise.
Nonetheless, from the unfortunate, unnecessary conclusion to this controversy comes a moral. It’s this: Even around here, don’t mess with Michael Moore.
Steve Morse • Suttons Bay
Bravo to EPA
Having waited for over 20 years, December 21 was an historic day when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given us a big dose of holiday cheer. EPA announced the first national standards to protect American families from power plant emissions of mercury and air toxics.
These new standards will slash emissions of these dangerous pollutants by relying on widely available, proven pollution controls that are already in use at more than half of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.
Each year EPA’s new air toxic pollution rules will prevent 11,000 premature deaths, 4,700 heart attacks, and 130,000 cases of childhood asthma.
Mercury pollution settles in lakes and rivers where microscopic organisms convert the inorganic mercury into methylmercury, a toxin that moves up the food chain in fish and then into other animals when they eat fish.
This negatively impacts many wildlife species that are revered as part of our state’s conservation heritage.
Safeguarding our natural resources is important to Michiganders but it is also a wise investment in our economic future. Reducing mercury and air toxics will help protect our long standing investment in our outdoor heritage.
Our Washington legislators should defend this important rule from any attacks in Congress.
Brenda Archambo • Cheboygan