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Initiatives targeting oil and gas development are becoming more and more common around the country, and Michigan is the latest state to play host to the hydraulic fracturing debate.

For the third election season in Michigan, opposition to the development technique will attempt to get lawmakers and the public to adopt an outright fracing ban. The previous two attempts have been unsuccessful, with the latest effort set to begin in a few weeks.

fortisThe Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan’s last attempt in 2013 fell about 180,000 signatures short of the 250,000 needed to land a fracing ban on the election ballot. The leader of the Committee, LuAnn Kozma, has been outspoken and optimistic on a more successful campaign in 2016, saying the use of fracing causes “serious harm.”

Nathan Conway disagrees. Conway serves as Chief Executive Officer of Fortis Energy Services, a private oilservice provider based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, with rigs, equipment and crews operating in Michigan, the Marcellus, Utica and the Bakken.

“We’re very concerned about protecting our water in Michigan,” Conway told Oil & Gas 360®.

An assertion made by the anti-fracturing group equated drillers to polluters. “Many operators across the country who are drilling today are recycling their frac water—using it over and over again,” Conway explained. “They’re recycling and reusing produced water created during the hydraulic fracturing process thus reducing the need for as much “new” fresh water to complete additional wells.  Regulation requiring proper treatment, hauling and disposing of the frac water into special wells is in place, so saying that it’s polluting is certainly a misrepresented statement.”

Conway also mentioned the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Michigan Oil & Gas Association to combat a potential frac ban. The Chamber of Commerce tried to stall the recent petition drive by claiming the petition language does not meet the requirements to enact a law. “If I were circulating petitions, I would want some indication of whether they meet constitutional standards,” said Gary Gordon, an attorney for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, to a local media outlet. “All the board said was these have the right type size and the correct disclaimers and [they] didn’t look at any of the substantive issues at all.”

Conway denied the notion that the practice is just getting started in Michigan, explaining that the practice has been used for decades. “Hydraulic fracturing has been used for over 50 years,” said Conway.  Throughout the state they’ve been drilling for a long time. There are more than 10,000 wells drilled in Michigan using hydraulic fracturing and has clearly been proven safe to human health and the environment.”

The fracing dispute is making some potential producers hesitant to start up operations. Marathon (ticker: MPC) was planning on drilling six wells in the northern part of the state but has deferred operations until 2016. Michigan has not had a running rig since May 2013, according to the rig count report from Baker Hughes.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce President Richard Studley issued a statement saying voters should decline to sign the petitions, calling the measure “an unprecedented attack on private property rights that would limit energy production, result in lost jobs, increase the cost of home heating and substantially reduce state funding for parks and recreation.”

Other officials pointed to legal issues that could open the state to litigation, including denial of property rights to mineral owners.

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Important disclosures: The information provided herein is believed to be reliable; however, EnerCom, Inc. makes no representation or warranty as to its completeness or accuracy. EnerCom’s conclusions are based upon information gathered from sources deemed to be reliable. This note is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or financial instrument of any company mentioned in this note. This note was prepared for general circulation and does not provide investment recommendations specific to individual investors. All readers of the note must make their own investment decisions based upon their specific investment objectives and financial situation utilizing their own financial advisors as they deem necessary. Investors should consider a company’s entire financial and operational structure in making any investment decisions. Past performance of any company discussed in this note should not be taken as an indication or guarantee of future results. EnerCom is a multi-disciplined management consulting services firm that regularly intends to seek business, or currently may be undertaking business, with companies covered on Oil & Gas 360®, and thereby seeks to receive compensation from these companies for its services. In addition, EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of these companies. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this note. EnerCom, or its principals or employees, may have an economic interest in any of the companies covered in this report or on Oil & Gas 360®. As a result, readers of EnerCom’s reports or Oil & Gas 360® should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report.