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Grand Rapids mayor calls on Governor Snyder to put temporary ban on fracking in Michigan

Jan 17, 2015

People snap pictures with Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell after his state of the city address Saturday morning.

Grand Rapids mayor George Heartwell is calling on Governor Rick Snyder to place a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing in the state.

Heartwell made his comments today during his state of the city address.

“Our planet is sick and it is we who have infected it. So it must be we who heal it,” Heartwell said to a crowd of at least 300 people. Environmental concerns was one of the major themes of Heartwell’s speech.

“There are some unknowns in this extraction process and we’ve got to stop the practice at least until we understand its health and geological implications,” Heartwell said. “As long as a respected body of scientists believe that hydraulic fracturing is a threat to ground water, the practice must be halted. A threat to water is a threat to life.”

He doesn’t expect Snyder will do it, “but I want to be one voice among many that’s calling on the governor to pay attention to this. It’s an urgent concern in our state."

Heartwell called on Grand Rapids city commissioners, and Kent County Commission to implement a moratorium on horizontal fracking as well. There is no fracking or plans for fracking in Grand Rapids.

He also pushed commissioners to pass recommendations to diversify the city’s workforce and outfit cops with body cameras. Lastly, he discussed plans to work with companies to retain and attract workers to Grand Rapids.

This was Heartwell’s eleventh and final state of the city speech.

City voters passed term limits on the mayor and Grand Rapids city commission in November.