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Enviro-Mich message from Michigan Land Use Institute <mlui@traverse.com>

June 25, 1998

State Rep. David Anthony, 517-373-0156
State Rep. Tom Alley, 517-373-3817
Arlin Wasserman, Michigan Land Use Institute, 616-271-3683

House legislation would guide oil and gas development along 
Great Lakes coast and in northern Michigan watersheds

	A bill to strengthen citizen oversight and reduce harm to sensitive
watersheds from oil and gas development has been introduced in the State
House of Representatives. The proposal, sponsored by Rep. David Anthony
((D-Escanaba), the chairman of the House Committee on Forestry and Mineral
Rights, calls for state regulators to work with citizens, local government
officials, and the oil and gas industry to prepare formal plans that guide
the installation of wells, pipelines, processing stations, and other
facilities along the Great Lakes coast and in watersheds of northern
	The bill, introduced on June 11, is under review by the House
Conservation, Environment, and Recreation Committee, chaired by Rep. Tom
Alley (D-West Branch). It is the most far-reaching and progressive proposal
to reform land use policy introduced in Michigan this decade. A broad
coalition of local governments and conservation groups have expressed their
	If approved, HB 5939 would: 
 Require a comprehensive review of current oil and gas policies.
 Require the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of
Natural Resources to work with citizens advisory councils to prepare
hydrocarbon development plans for the Great Lakes shoreline and 9 northern
Michigan watersheds. The plans would:
1. Identify the most suitable areas for wells, pipelines, and processing
2. Require wider well spacing and tighter restrictions on areas of special
environmental value.
3. Coordinate state oversight with local land use plans to reduce community
 Place a moratorium on drilling beneath the Great Lakes until hydrocarbon
plans are in place. 
	Mr. Anthony's legislation is the culmination of a series of high profile
commissions and state-sanctioned studies that have consistently identified
the need for coordinated planning to lessen the harm caused by oil and gas
development. This concept was most recently endorsed by the Michigan
Environmental Science Board, a group of the state's top-scientists
appointed by governor. In October, 1997, the Science Board issued a report
calling on the state to refrain from leasing Great Lakes oil and gas rights
until a planning process is established that allows substantive public
input. Despite publicly praising the Science Board's report, the DEQ and
the DNR have ignored the report's central findings. 
	Rep. Anthony began work on the bill after a legislative field hearing last
fall in Gaylord attracted more than 200 citizens who called on elected
officials to reform Michigan oil and gas policy. Three legislative hearings
on the proposal were held in Lansing. Among the supporters are the Antrim
County Board of Commissioners, Trout Unlimited, the Northern Michigan
Environmental Action Council, the Michigan Environmental Council, and the
Michigan Energy Reform Coalition, which includes 8 townships in northern


"Careful research and reasoned advocacy
to protect the environment, enhance
economic opportunity, and support
vibrant communities."

P.O. Box 228
Benzonia, MI 49616
616-882-4723 /*\ 616-882-7350 fax

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