Moss, Lucido seek to strengthen local control for oil, gas drilling development

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Jeremy Moss (D–Southfield) and State Sen. Peter J. Lucido (R-Shelby Twp.) introduced bills today that would restrict oil and gas drilling in Michigan’s most-populated counties and require state agencies to abide by local ordinances when issuing drilling permits.

“When oil and gas companies are motivated by profits to encroach on densely-populated communities, the state must listen to residents who voice concerns about the potential risks to their health, the environment and our water resources,” Sen. Moss said. “A local community should be allowed to determine what type of development can and cannot be allowed within its own neighborhoods.”

The bipartisan legislative package includes Senate Bill 130, sponsored by Sen. Moss, and Senate Bill 131, sponsored by Sen. Lucido.

Collectively, the bills would prohibit the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) from issuing a drilling permit in a county with a population of 750,000 people or more, unless all the following conditions are met:

“Michigan currently has stronger oil drilling protections in place for wildlife and wetlands than we have for our citizens,” said Sen. Lucido. “It is important that we put commonsense protections in place to prevent oil and gas wells from being erected too close to residential neighborhoods where they could present a danger to the health and safety of residents.”

The legislation is a reintroduction of bills that were enrolled last term in response to MDEQ’s approval of a drilling permit, in March 2016, for a controversial, exploratory oil well on a Southfield church’s property at the corner of 9 Mile and Evergreen roads, a densely-populated residential area. The city had a moratorium against oil and gas development, which MDEQ officials dismantled. Roughly 1,000 residents attended a public hearing, requested by then-Rep. Moss, to oppose the permit.

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