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Great Lakes Drilling

            The Risk of Pollution from Drilling under the Great Lakes is to great.
             The Great Lakes contain 20 percent of the world's freshwater and is home to .
             more than 35 million people. Currently there is a ban against directional drilling .
             under the Great Lakes. Directional drilling enables oil and gas deposits beneath the .
             lakes to be tapped from a distance. Regulations require that the rig is located 1,500 .
             feet or more inland from the shore, where a vertical bore is drilled to the depth of .
             approximately 1000 feet. The hole is then deviated at an angle toward the bedrock .
             underlying the lake until it reaches oil or gas deposits some 4,900 feet beneath the .
             water's surface. (1) There is the fear that with rising gas prices, reliance on foreign .
             oil, and a president who is sympathetic to the oil industry, that attempts may be made .
             to reverse the ban. If drilling were allowed there is the danger of possible accidents, .
             causing health risks to humans, fish and wildlife and devastation to the tourism .
             industry of the area. The risks of pollution from oil and gas drilling under the .
             Great Lakes far outweigh any benefits gained from siphoning off fossil fuels. .
             Although accidents are rare, they do happen. The Department of Environmental .
             Quality (DEQ) claims that directional drilling does not endanger Lake Michigan .
             because the wells are drilled through bedrock thousands of feet beneath the bottom of .
             the lake and that the rock acts as an impermeable seal that will not allow gas or oil to .
             leak in to the water. The greatest potential risk to the environment comes at the well .
             site.The national Wildlife Federation points out that the risk at the well site also .
             includes quality of life impact for people who live, work and recreate in the areas where .
             the drilling occurs. According to the National Response Center, which moniters spills of .
             oil and other hazardous materials, there have been a variety of wellhead accidents over .

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