News from Progress Michigan
Monday, May 14, 2012

Contact: Jessica Tramontana, 974-6302

Senate candidate flip-flops on protecting Great Lakes

LANSING – Today environmental groups banded together, calling on U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra to reject any form of oil or gas drilling in the Great Lakes. Clean Water Action, Sierra Club, and Progress Michigan are speaking out after Hoekstra told a Tea Party audience that he supported slant drilling in the Great Lakes. Hoekstra has flip-flopped on the issue, after previously voting to ban Great Lakes drilling in 2005.

“Pete Hoekstra voted for the Federal ban on drilling in the Great Lakes, and now he is opening the door for drilling,” said Rita Chapman, Clean Water Program Director, Michigan Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “That is unacceptable, and the Sierra Club will oppose any attempt to weaken protections against drilling the Great Lakes.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, last week former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra told a Tea Party audience that, “I would support the new technology now that allows you to drill, you know, onshore, drill down, and drill — I’m a marketing guy — and then drill sideways. Laterally.”

“Pete Hoekstra is way out of the mainstream on this issue,” said Cindy Roper, Michigan Director of Clean Water Action. “Protecting our Great Lakes isn’t a partisan issue. Hoekstra’s plan to lift federal protections, and give Big Oil a chance to bring their drills to the Great Lakes is dangerous and outrageous. Defeating Hoekstra’s plan is a top policy priority for Clean Water Action.”

Hoekstra has flip-flopped on the issue, after previously voting to ban Great Lakes drilling in 2005 as a member of Congress. In 2001, he was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “The only appropriate policy is to keep drills out of the Great Lakes.” That was prior to voting for an amendment prohibiting the Army Corps of Engineers from considering permits for new drilling operations. 

“The people of Michigan deserve to know where Pete Hoekstra really stands on drilling in the Great Lakes,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “After the tragic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan just two short years ago, we can’t afford to roll the dice on a risky scheme that would allow Big Oil CEOs to drill for oil in the Great Lakes.”


If you would like to see Hoekstra’s comments on drilling, watch it below:

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