By NICK STANEK
Capital News Service
LANSING – Michigan lawmakers are considering a controversial bill that will allow drillers to use carbon dioxide to extract oil from outdated wells. It is part of a series of bills to amend laws that regulate the storage and purchase of crude oil and petroleum. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, will allow companies to pump carbon dioxide deep into old wells to extract more oil. “If you have a pop bottle and you shake it, it overflows,” said Maggie Datema, the director of legislative affairs at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “It’s the same concept.
Following a 2010 study of air pollution, the Environmental Protection Agency will be taking new steps this December to reinforce national regulations for mercury and carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Anyone who has heard of global warming surely knows the dangers of high carbon dioxide emissions to our planet. But the health risks of airborne mercury are not as well understood. “When mercury gets in the atmosphere, it rains or snows, and brings it down into the watershed. Then it runs off into the streams, and from the streams into the rivers and back into the Great Lakes and into the fish,” said Dr. Frank D’Itri, a retired fisheries and wildlife professor at Michigan State University.