VIDEO: Gulf oil spill has Great Lakes political blowback


It has been a month since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the political reverberations have finally made their way to the Great Lakes.

The Michigan Democratic Party on Monday released a video stating that drilling in the Great Lakes could lead to the same kind of disaster here. The two minute video shows graphic images of dead wildlife set against a spooky soundtrack and stark quotes. It then superimposes drilling rigs on Michigan landmarks such as the Mackinac Bridge, Grand Hotel and the RenCen. That’s a threat long banned in Michigan.

The video targets potential Republican attorney general nominee Bill Schuette for saying such a disaster couldn’t happen in the Great Lakes and for taking money from oil companies. The title of the video is “Bull Schuette on Duty…for Big Oil.”

Schuette responded to the video in The Detroit News, calling it “a complete and total lie.”

Schuette sponsored a bill in 1998 that would have barred slant drilling for oil within 1,500 feet of the Great Lakes shoreline for 10 years, but would have permitted drilling beyond that point, according to the Detroit News.

That bill and regulations already in place would not have allowed for the rigs next to landmarks depicted in the video. Slant drilling from the shore is not the same as drilling directly through the water and into the bottom as with the failed Gulf well. That practice has long been banned in the Great Lakes.

Schuette also voted for legislation to ban drilling that passed the Senate in 2002, reports Detroit News reporter Mark Hornbeck.

“There was a long debate about what to do and Bill started out with the toughest restrictions and by the end of 2002 he decided the toughest was no drilling on the lakes,” said Rusty Hills, a spokesman for Schuette.

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