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Stabenow sends President reminder of Great Lakes drilling ban after Executive Order signed

Stabenow sends President reminder of Great Lakes drilling ban after Executive Order signed. (WWMT/File - MGN)

An executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday reversed an Obama-era policy that ordered for the protection of oceans and the Great Lakes.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) sent a letter to the President on Wednesday to remind him that there is a permanent federal ban on gas and oil drilling in the Great Lakes.

“The economic and environmental significance of the Great Lakes cannot be overstated,” Stabenow wrote. “Our Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth, supply drinking water to over 40 million people, and sustain a $6 trillion economy and over 50 million jobs. Given the existing ban on drilling and the importance of the Great Lakes, I call on you to reverse course and oppose any efforts to open our waters to oil and gas drilling as a result of your recent Executive Order.”

The ban was passed in 2001 and became permanent in 2005.

Executive Order 13547 does not call for drilling, but rolls back a policy put in place by former President Barack Obama calling for stewardship of oceans and Great Lakes. The order also removes language pertaining to climate change.

The new order states, “ensure that Federal regulations and management decisions do not prevent productive and sustainable use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes waters;”

Stabenow is concerned that the order could open the door for companies to try drilling in the Great Lakes.

Read Stabenow’s full letter to the President:

Dear Mr. President:
As co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Great Lakes Task Force, one of my top priorities is protecting the Great Lakes. In fact, the first legislation I passed into law as a U.S. Senator banned oil and gas drilling in the Great Lakes, a ban that we made permanent in 2005.
That is why I am writing to question the impact of your “Executive Order Regarding the Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States.” This Executive Order can be interpreted as an attempt to reverse current law and open the Great Lakes to oil and gas drilling. This executive order, as well as your continued attempts to zero out funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative despite bipartisan support in Congress, are a direct attack on our Michigan way of life.
The economic and environmental significance of the Great Lakes cannot be overstated. Our Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on Earth, supply drinking water to over 40 million people, and sustain a $6 trillion economy and over 50 million jobs.
Given the existing ban on drilling and the importance of the Great Lakes, I call on you to reverse course and oppose any efforts to open our waters to oil and gas drilling as a result of your recent Executive Order. I ask for your prompt response.


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