Volunteer to help the petition to ban fracking in Michigan!

The Sierra Club is recruiting volunteers for the petition to ban fracking in Michigan. Please help!poll

People all over Michigan will gladly support a fracking ban.

Please help get their signatures on the petition to ban fracking in Michigan!

Volunteer for the fracking ban campaignDonate to the fracking ban campaign

Here are a few questions about the petition to ban fracking in Michigan:
Question: What’s the big deal? Fracking has been going on for decades. Why do we need a petition to ban fracking in Michigan?


fracking - old vs newFracking today isn’t what it used to be. This fairly new way of doing business is called high volume fracking, a term that tickles investors. It’s also called horizontal fracking, which doesn’t sound so nice once we understand it.

An old-style frack well would go down maybe a mile or so, tops. Then the frackers would pump in their fracking fluid, break up the shale, and pump out the freed-up hydrocarbons. With horizontal fracking, they usually go much deeper, then they turn a corner and drill horizontally – sometimes as far as two or three miles – under homes, businesses, farmland, whatever is up there.

Question: A sideways well under my house does seem a bit worrisome, but isn’t getting up a petition to ban fracking in Michigan too extreme?

The short answer: No, A petition to ban fracking in Michigan is not extreme at all.

Three longer answers:
ANSWER #1: Think about the water.

They call it “fracking fluid” because it would be awkward for them to call it “perfectly clean water loaded with a concoction of as many as 30 or more secret chemicals that we don’t have to disclose.”

There’s something about Michigan’s geology that requires the frackers to destroy quite a bit more clean water per frack well than in most other places. A report from the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan explains:

Michigan, with more private groundwater drinking wells than any other state, is using more water per frack well than any other state. One frack well used 21 million gallons and some new applications seek 35 million gallons for each well, with several such wells on one pad.

With thousands of working or pending frack wells in Michigan, that’s billions of gallons of perfectly clean water turned into into frack waste – never usable for anything else.

Some of the fracking fluid stays down among the broken rocks and shale, along the horizontal shaft that got fracked. Some of the waste gets pumped back up along with the fracked product. This frack waste – depending on what kind of formations it came in contact with – is often radioactive. Liquid frack waste from a fracking operation’s several wells usually gets dumped into an injection well. This is a separate well that has no purpose other than to hold contaminated and possibly radioactive waste from several fracked wells.

ANSWER #2: Think about all that waste.

No one really knows what happens to the fluid left in the fracked wells, or to the stuff in the waste injection wells. Frackers want us to believe it stays underground forever, harmlessly going nowhere, as if it’s not liquid any more, as if doesn’t flow. People all over the U.S. – Pennsylvania, New York State, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma – know better.

Other states are actually exporting their toxic, contaminated, radioactive frack waste to Michigan. Other states have strict regulations about storing that stuff. Michigan’s regulations are less stringent. The petition to ban fracking in Michigan addresses the state’s lax regulation of frack waste. The measure would in fact “prohibit emission, production, storage, disposal, and processing of frack and acidizing wastes created by gas and oil well operations.”

ANSWER #3: If using up all that water and creating all that toxic waste doesn’t alarm you, and if you’re not worried about the secret contaminants reaching the aquifer that supplies your drinking water, think about the earthquakes.
Thirty years on the left. One and a half years on the right. “Oklahoma experienced 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2014 compared to 109 events recorded in 2013.” Note: Only Earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 and higher are displayed. Map credit: Oklahoma Office Of The Secretary Of Energy & Environment

Thirty years on the left. One and a half years on the right. “Oklahoma experienced 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2014 compared to 109 events recorded in 2013.” Note: Only Earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 and higher are displayed. Map credit: Oklahoma Office Of The Secretary Of Energy & Environment

Earthquakes used to be rare in Oklahoma, until Oklahoma started getting fracked. Now that the fracking has gone horizontal, what’s rare in Oklahoma is a day without a quake. EarthquakeTrack.com has a page that continuously updates Oklahoma’s quakes. Here’s what it said at about 3:00 PM, December 28, 2015:

  • 4 earthquakes today
  • 27 earthquakes in the past 7 days
  • 149 earthquakes in the past month
  • 2,157 earthquakes in the past year

These earthquakes, says a report quoted by EcoWatch were “caused by fracking” and by fracking waste injection wells.

If you’ve lived in Southwest Michigan for very long, you probably can’t remember an earthquake before last May. “The May 2 quake,” reports MLive, “was the most powerful in Michigan since a 4.6 quake near Coldwater in 1947.” After another earthquake in July, a report in the Detroit Free Press said that “industrial activities can’t be ruled out as a cause.”

Granted, our two earthquakes may not be enough evidence for us to put the blame squarely on fracking. But maybe Mother Earth is trying to tell us something. Oklahoma’s problems inspired Kansas to take action. Michigan should get inspired too. True, evidence isn’t proof. The only way we’ll have proof is if we wait long enough. By the time we can say, “See? Told ya!” it will be too late.

Question: Okay, then! The headline up at the top of the page says, “Please help!” How can people help?


Donate to the cause! It’s going to be expensive for regular folks with no financial stake to fight the deep-pocketed frackers who’ve got all kinds of political power and lots of clout with the media. Click here! Right Now! The link will take you to the donation page.

Volunteer to collect signatures! Click here! Right Now! The link will take you to the volunteer sign-up page.

This is a participatory activity! The Committee needs more people collecting signatures right now, right here in Southwest Michigan.

It’s easy! People want to sign the petition! At busy events – festivals, farm markets, fairs, all sorts of public gatherings – expect to collect 20 to 30 signatures per hour. To collect 200 signatures, which is what the Committee asks each volunteer to do, takes only about 10 hours of your time.

It’s fun and invigorating to take the fracking ban message to the streets, face-to-face with our fellow Michigan voters. Please join the campaign. Help make sure the petition has enough signatures to get on the ballot. Your online training will be quick and easy, and experienced volunteers will work with you.

Question: Isn’t there a link where people can go online and sign the petition to ban fracking in Michigan?


This is important! YOU CAN’T SIGN THE PETITION TO BAN FRACKING IN MICHIGAN ONLINE! You have to sign an actual paper copy of the petition. You have to sign it with a smudge-proof ball-point pen. If you think you already signed online, you’re mistaken. That was something else. This is important!

Question: Doh! Then where do we go to sign the petition to ban fracking in Michigan?


Working for a fracking ban in MichiganVolunteers for the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan are out there right now, all over the State, collecting signatures. You can start by checking the Events page on the CBFM website. The page lists all the events lined up for signature-collection so far. The list gets updated every day or so as more events get added. Once you find an event near you, go there and look for a sign that looks like the image on the right. Or look for someone carrying a clipboard and wearing a shirt with that logo on it.

Or… While you’re out and about, keep your eye peeled for that sign and that shirt. Many volunteers are out collecting signatures on their own. You may find them in public parks and other gathering places. Sometimes a signature collector may not have a sign or a “Let’s Ban Fracking” shirt, so always be on the lookout for someone carrying a clipboard.

Make sure it’s the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s petition. Read the petition and look for the Committee’s name on the bottom and their email address and phone number on the right.

Question: How will the petition to ban fracking in Michigan actually get us a fracking ban?

Answer: This petition will put a legislative initiative on the ballot, not a referendum.

There’s a big difference. A referendum allows voters to reject a recently-passed law, but doesn’t put any new language in its place. It simply erases the law with a NO vote. A legislative initiative is a way for us, as Michigan voters, to have a direct say in creating a new law.

If enough valid signatures are collected, the legislature will have 40 session days to decide whether to

  • enact the initiative without modification.
  • reject it – in which case they can create a competing measure and the voters will choose between the two on the November 2016 ballot, with the measure receiving the most votes becoming law within ten days of the election.
  • refuse to act – in which case the voters will decide without a competing measure appearing on the 2016 ballot.

The governor cannot veto a law enacted in this way. The legislature can amend or repeal it only at a subsequent session, and only by a 75% supermajority vote in both the Senate and the House.

This is the voters’ way to say, “Okay, if you scalawags are so deeply in debt to your wealthy campaign contributors and so beholden to your petty party allegiances that you can’t get something done to take care of this problem, we hereby change the law on our own!” If it gets on the ballot, and if the voters approve it, it will be the law.

That’s how Michigan’s Constitution keeps our lawmakers and our governor from overruling the people of Michigan. It’s a way for the people of Michigan to fight the wealthy and the powerful who are putting their own interests ahead of the will of the people.

Question: How can we help put this legislative initiative on the ballot?

Click here to volunteer. Help the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan collect signatures. CBFM has about half a dozen other kinds of volunteer work for you.

Click here to donate. Help give the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan the resources to defray their expenses and fight the deep-pocketed frackers.

Question: Where can we get more information?

CBFM’s website can fill you in on everything. including the ballot language and full text of the proposal, a full list of their hundreds of endorsements, their downloadable brochure, FAQs about the ballot initiative and about fracking, and the all-important list of signature collection events.

Question: Wow! This is going to be a tough battle, isn’t it?

Answer: Duh!

However – It isn’t true that “You can’t fight City Hall.”

Yes, the rich and powerful special interest groups – particularly the fossil fuel advocates – have the big bucks and the media clout to get their message out a lot louder and stronger than the people who have little to invest financially – and nothing to gain financially – and whose only “special interest” is the State of Michigan, Her environment, and Her people.

People who are passionate about holding onto everything we’ve got to lose here in beautiful Michigan can “fight City Hall” and win at the polls – but only by convincing everyone else who cares about our state to


Paid for with regulated funds by the Sierra Club Committee to Make Michigan Safe from Fracking.

Question: What can we do if frackers invade our neighborhood right now?


Craig Brainard supports the petition to ban fracking in Michigan.Craig Brainard can help.

He’s the Education Coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter and Conservation Chair for the Southwest Michigan Group. He’ll be happy to schedule a presentation of “Don’t Frack Up Our Future” for your organization. At every presentation, he will ask you for your signature on the petition to ban fracking in Michigan, and he will ask you to help collect signatures. From then on, he will remind you to get yourself and your friends to the polls.

You can reach Craig to schedule his informative presentation by using our contact form. We’ll make sure Craig gets your message.

You can also subscribe to Craig’s Fracking Linkletter ©  and get the latest news about fracking, pipelines, other stuff, and even some good news – all delivered to your email inbox once a week! (Note: The Fracking Linkletter © is on hiatus for now.)

He will inspire you and your friends to join the fight on behalf of the petition to ban fracking in Michigan!