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Michiganians will begin a remarkable statewide ballot initiative campaign this May to ban the practice of horizontal fracking and frack wastes. Residents from all parts of the state are taking action and supporting it with their time, talent and dollars.

The gas and oil industry began using the new technique of high-intensity horizontal fracking in Michigan in 2010, drilling miles deep into the earth to fracture or otherwise create openings in tight shales and other rock formations, breaking up the very bedrock below us to get gas and oil. This extreme method of fossil fuel extraction is leaving parts of the United States devastated from poisoned air, contaminated water, depressed home values (or valueless property), sickened families and children, dying livestock and destroyed farmland, and myriad health effects from breathing, drinking and living in a contaminated environment.

We've heard from people in Pennsylvania, where there are over 800 frack wells in a single county, from people in Ohio, where radioactive frack wastes are filling up landfills, and from people in Colorado, where communities are living amid the frack industry's infrastructure that blankets entire portions of the state, setting up next to schools and homes.

If we don't stop the onslaught, Michigan's air, land, water and people will be next.

We are already feeling the effects here. Frack wells in Michigan require more water than wells in most other parts of the country, some over 35 million gallons. The process destroys all of that water by mixing it with chemicals, many of them known neurotoxins and carcinogens, and sand, creating millions of gallons of permanently contaminated waste.

Thanks to Michigan's Constitution, we voters can write our own laws and put them into place using the ballot initiative process. Michiganians have a history of doing ballot initiatives for issues so vitally important and that unfortunately our legislators in Lansing do not have the courage to do.

We are working on this campaign so that Michigan can follow in the footsteps of many other communities, states, and countries that have banned fracking — places such as New York, Vermont, Scotland, Wales, France and Bulgaria — among others. Drilling bans are not new in Michigan. There is a precedent: the ban on drilling under the Great Lakes and connecting bays, harbors and waterways is already part of Michigan law since 2002.

Todd Bazzett, Ellis Boal, Peggy Case,

LuAnne Kozma and Diane Weckerle,

steering committee members, Committee to

Ban Fracking in Michigan

Correction: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this letter said the campaign ends in May. It begins in May.

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