ERIN McDONOUGH, PRESIDENT AND CEO
If you needed a reminder to attend the February 15 Legislative Education Day, this is it.
As the newly elected Michigan House members work hard to assign committee assignments, make connections and set priorities, some old legislation geared toward hindering private property rights has been reintroduced.
State Rep. Pete Lucido (R, Shelby Twp), introduced H.R. 4007, a bill to expand setback requirements in counties with a population of over 750,000. In this bill, a well must be placed 1320 feet from any residential structure and must be in compliance with local ordinances.
At 450 feet, Michigan already has some of the most stringent setback requirements in the nation. Michigan’s oil and gas program, administered by the State’s Department of Environmental Quality is also considered to be one of the toughest in the U.S.
The implications of this bill would be to erode the rights of the private property owner to access the value of their minerals. At 1,320 feet, the opportunity to access your minerals is questionable at best.
This bill also creates a dual regulatory structure, requiring companies to comply with a patchwork of regulations across the state, instead of being managed comprehensively by state experts with a program that has a proven track record of protecting our fresh water resources. Oil and natural gas are where mother natural has placed them and are not subject to county or township lines.
Michigan’s economy needs its oil and gas industry to remain vibrant. Dual regulation will have a depressing effect on our economy. Low natural gas prices are bolstering the return of manufacturing to the United States, driving the nation’s economic resurgence and are essential to Michigan’s future.
Reducing our ability to access our resources hinders the pocketbooks of private landowners and the economic growth of the state. This bill has been referred to the House Energy Committee.