Campaign To Put Fracking Ban On 2018 Ballot Has A Bad Day In Court

Jake Neher/WDET

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan has hit another roadblock as it tries to put an anti-fracking proposal on the November 2018 ballot.

Last year the Committee to Ban Fracking starting gathering signatures to put a fracking ban measure on the November 2016 ballot. It collected more than 200,000 signatures. But it needed more than a quarter-million by June – and it failed to reach that goal. Rather than start from square-one, the committee wants to use the signatures it already gathered toward the 252,523 it needs to get on the November 2018 ballot.

At issue is a law that says signatures are no good after 180 days. The committee asked a judge to declare the law unconstitutional. But the court says it won’t consider that challenge because the committee does not have the required number of signatures, even if they combined the old signatures with ones they have gathered since. The court says the committee is asking it to decide a hypothetical question, something it won’t do. 

LuAnne Kozma is the committee’s campaign director. She says, “People shouldn’t have to expend all this money and time before getting a declaratory judgment on an unconstitutional law. Especially an election law.”

Although the committee will be appealing the new decision, in the meantime Kozma says they will keep getting signatures.

When we get enough signatures we’ll be submitting them for approval and then this whole process will continue from that point. Probably another lawsuit,” she said. “And then they’ll hear the case on the merits, which is about the unconstitutionality of the 180-day statute.”

Although the next election is still a ways off, Kozma is confident fracking will be on the November 2018, ballot.

We know that this issue of banning fracking is very important to people,” she said. “Banning fracking and frack waste has become a national issue, it’s certainly an issue in Michigan. And we’re certain we’re going to collect enough signatures and push this all the way through.”

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

This post is a part of 2016 Elections: Issues & Candidates.

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