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E-M:/ Oil and gas program in Michigan

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

Michigan DEQ just put out the release below....this things sounds
like something held over from the Engler years.....

...isn't there a problem with little or no public notice and availability
of public comment on the drilling of oil/gas wells??

....Also, what is happening to spent/waste drilling mud these days....is it
still being put into pits by drill sites?   And wasn't there a
dustup over lack of adequate hydrogen sulfide release controls
at wellheads?


September 9, 2003

Contact:  Patricia Spitzley
                (517) 241-7397

Audit Praises Michigan's Oil and Gas Regulatory Program

A comprehensive evaluation of Michigan's oil and gas environmental
regulatory program found it to be well-managed, with a sound basis in
statutes and regulations.

The evaluation, called a "State Review," was administered by STRONGER,
Inc.  STRONGER (an acronym for State Review of Oil and Natural Gas
Environmental Regulations) is an independent stakeholder organization
with representation from public interest groups, state oil and gas
regulatory agencies, and the oil and gas industry.

Each state has a system of laws, rules, and enforcement procedures that
is tailored to the state's unique environmental settings, land use, and
types of oil and gas development.  The main purpose of the State Review
process is to assure that state regulatory programs are adequate to
protect the environment and public health.  The review process also
helps identify effective practices so that other states can incorporate
them in their own regulatory programs.

In Michigan, the Geological and Land Management Division (GLMD) of the
DEQ has primary responsibility for regulation of oil and gas drilling
and production.  The state currently has about 17,000 active oil and gas
wells and ranks 17th among the states for oil production and 12th for
natural gas.  Michigan produces 27 percent of the state's annual demand
for natural gas, and about 4 percent of the state's demand for oil.  It
is number one among the states in underground natural gas storage

The State Review process was established in 1988 by the Interstate Oil
and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) in cooperation with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The IOGCC represents the
governors of 30 states that produce virtually all the domestic oil and
natural gas in the United States.  The purpose of the IOGCC is to
promote conservation and efficient recovery of domestic oil and natural
gas resources while protecting health, safety, and the environment.
STRONGER was formed in 1999 to carry forward the State Review process.
Michigan volunteered to undergo a State Review in October, 2002, and
STRONGER appointed a ten-person team to conduct the review.

The STRONGER Review Team consisted of six members-two each from public
interest organizations, the oil and gas industry, and regulatory
agencies from other states.  They include Michigan United Conservation
Clubs, Trout Unlimited, New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, Railroad
Commission of Texas; Old Mission Energy, and Mika Meyers Becket & Jones.
  The Team also included observers from the EPA, the US Department of
Energy, the Michigan Oil and Gas Association, and the IOGCC.

The review team conducted a four-day in-state evaluation in which they
interviewed DEQ staff and reviewed extensive program documentation.
STRONGER recently issued a report of the team's findings, which cover
administrative, technical, and legal aspects of the regulatory program.
The report notes that in most respects the Michigan program meets or
exceeds nationwide standards adopted by STRONGER.

The report gives special recognition to Michigan's program for several
innovative and progressive aspects, including an excellent spill
response plan, sound regulation of storage and containment of oil and
byproducts, provisions for public involvement in regulatory activities,
number and qualifications of program staff, and strong funding for
remediation of abandoned sites.

The report makes several recommendations for the program.  The review
team noted the September 2002 reorganization of the DEQ, and recommended
the agency evaluate the effects on the oil and gas program to assure its
continued effectiveness and professionalism.  The review team also
recommended that the DEQ develop a program to promote oil and gas waste
minimization and recycling.

A third major recommendation is that the DEQ determine the volume of
solid waste from oil and gas activities that is disposed of in
commercial landfills.  If the volume is significant, the DEQ should
consider developing training and licensing of waste haulers and a
tracking system for the disposal of the waste.

The DEQ is already making plans for actions to address the report's

The State Review report is available on the STRONGER web site, at
www.strongerinc.org.  It is also available on the DEQ web site, at
http://www.michigan.gov/deq, by clicking on Land - Fuels and Minerals -
Oil and Gas, or by contacting the GLMD at 517-241-1515.


Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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