Small Businesses Speaks Out on Fracking in Michigan

Date: April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014 (Lansing) – Michigan small business owners think that the rules
for regulating the exploration of natural gas are already tight enough and that
the state cannot afford to limit its potential for economic growth, according
to a new survey released today by the National
Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)
.

“Our members compare the real
economic benefits in states that allow hydraulic fracturing to the risks that
are so far mostly theoretical and they don’t believe more regulations are
necessary,” said NFIB Michigan State
Director Charlie Owens
.  “Whole parts
of the country have been transformed because of the technology and small
business owners want that for Michigan.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or
“fracking,” is a drilling technology that allows energy companies to extract
natural gas from beneath rock formations thousands of feet below the surface
that were once unreachable.  The
technique is responsible for an economic boom in
North Dakota,
where the unemployment rate is now a microscopic 2.6 percent, as well as other
states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Texas.  It’s also responsible for the collapse in
natural gas prices, which has been good news for small businesses and
consumers.

NFIB asked its members in a
statewide survey whether tougher restrictions, as some in Lansing are
proposing, are necessary.  Sixty five (65) percent said no, while 19
percent favor additional regulations. 
Sixteen
percent (16) were undecided.

“Lower energy costs are
especially important in Michigan, which relies so heavily on the manufacturing
sector,” said Owens.  “A strong majority
of our members think it would be foolish to discourage what could be a catalyst
for unprecedented growth.”

Environmentalists warn,
however, that chemicals used in the process could contaminate drinking water
and Michigan’s natural resources.

“What they don’t realize is
that this is not a new technology,” said Owens. 
“It’s been used for decades with very few negative effects.  It wasn’t until the Hollywood jet set got
involved that it became a fashionable political issue.”

In fact, in North Dakota, one
of the most common complaints is that the economy has grown so fast that the
housing market and other industries are having a hard time keeping up with the
demand.

“That’s a good problem to
have,” said Owens.  “This is a well
regulated industry already, governed by state and federal rules that already
protect our wilderness areas and our water supply.  Our members clearly believe that putting more
rules on top of those rules would be unnecessary, and probably counterproductive.”

For more information about
NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.

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