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Court revives anti-fracking effort

LANSING (AP) — A proposal to ban fracking in Michigan could land on the ballot in November.

The state appeals court last week ruled in favor of fracking opponents and revived their effort to present the issue to voters.

Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are injected into wells miles deep to break up layers of shale, releasing oil or gas. Critics say it threatens the environment.

The court said state election officials were wrong to reject petitions with more than 270,000 signatures in 2018. The state said a summary of the proposal had referred to a wrong election date. The appeals court, however, said that’s irrelevant.

Fracking opponents “submitted an initiative petition that was facially compliant with all statutory requirements,” the court said.

The Board of State Canvassers now must judge the petition and the signatures, the court said.

If there are enough valid signatures, the Legislature would decide whether to adopt the proposal. If lawmakers decline, it would go on the ballot, according to the Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan.