According to a press release issued by Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards, earlier this week the Supervisor of Wells, Harold R. Fitch, issued an instruction concerning the regulation of oil and gas drilling in high population density areas. The instruction, aptly named Oil and Gas Development in High Population Density Areas, is an important legislative step in the right direction to regulate oil and gas development. That being said, the instruction’s scope is extremely narrow. For example, due to population minimums stated in the instruction, it applies to only three Michigan counties. For more information, read the full press release here.
This week, the Detroit Free Press published an interesting article detailing some of the conflict related to the drilling that happened in Shelby and Scio Townships this past summer. Jim Olson, FLOW’s President and Founder, was interviewed for the article and in it talks about the rights and abilities of local governments in relation to oil and gas drilling. Jim explains, “The idea that there is no jurisdiction at the local level just isn’t true… Light, noise, truck traffic and routes, odors, hazardous substances moving over streets with the risk of spills, protection of water resources, you name it. Quality of life, property values, anything that would risk the health, safety and welfare of residents, townships have the right to regulate.”