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Signature gathering to ban fracking in Michigan falls short

Organizers of an initiative to ban a form of oil and natural gas drilling in Michigan have fallen short in collecting enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot.

The Committee to Ban Fracking in Michigan said Wednesday it gathered about 150,000 signatures.

It needed nearly 253,000 valid voter signatures.

The volunteer group could signature gathering through May, but only can submit those gathered in a six-month window.

Fracking uses mixtures of water, chemicals and sand injected deep underground at high pressure to open cracks, releasing oil or natural gas.

The industry says the technique has been used safely.

But critics say hydraulic fracturing pollutes the environment and wastes water.

Campaign director LuAnneKozma says the group doubled its signatures from a similar campaign in 2013 and will press ahead.

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