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Dems hope Flint crisis will bring attention to other water issues, offer fracking bills

Feb 11, 2016

Credit Jake Neher / Michigan Public Radio

A group of state House Democrats hopes the crisis in Flint will help bring attention to other issues they say threaten clean water in Michigan.

They announced bills on Thursday that would increase regulations on fracking.

Democrats say there’s an opportunity to have a serious conversation about fracking and other water quality issues.

“Now that there’s a little more attention, this gives us an opportunity to go to our colleagues and say, hey look, here’s another threat, here’s another problem,” said state Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

Rep. Julie Plawecki (D-Dearborn Heights) says the state should not go through another water contamination crisis.

“We know what happens when we aren’t careful about something as important as our water.”

Among other things, the bills would require companies to disclose the chemicals used in the fracking process. They would also place a moratorium on new fracking permits until stricter regulations are in place.

State environmental officials say the practice has never cause environmental damage in Michigan and that current regulations are adequate.        

A group is collecting signatures to put a fracking ban on the November ballot.