Let’s face it – Michigan has been through the ringer. Since the collapse of the automotive industry, Michiganders have been working hard to redefine ourselves, and looking for new ways to grow and thrive. The beacon of hope and one constant that has threaded itself throughout Michigan’s history – what makes us different than just becoming another Ohio or Indiana – is undoubtedly the Great Lakes.
Yesterday environmental groups stood together to demand that U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra reject any form of drilling in the Great Lakes. Hoekstra told a tea party audience on Friday, May 11th, that he supported slant drilling in the Great Lakes, despite previous votes to ban Great Lakes drilling. Clean Water Action and the Michigan Sierra Club are opposed to any type of drilling in our lakes.
Hoekstra has flip-flopped on this issue, but this is a gamble Michigan can’t afford to make. As a member of Congress, Hoekstra voted to ban Great Lakes drilling in 2005. 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.
Following the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Enbridge spill in the Kalamazoo River just two years ago, Michigan residents know that we can’t afford another catastrophe. Hoekstra’s plan to roll back federal protections and give drilling for oil or natural gas a chance is dangerous and outrageous. Protecting our Great Lakes should be a non-partisan priority.
The Great Lakes are a natural resource all Michigan residents grew up enjoying as well as learning about. From “HOMES” that we were all taught in elementary school, go ahead and tick them off: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior. Most Michigan residents can rattle off all of the names of our Great Lakes. What we can’t embrace is a person like Hoekstra who waffles back and forth between protecting them and protecting his Big Oil buddies.
Check out this video of Hoekstra’s statement in support of drilling: