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Fw: E-M:/ Oil and gas program in Michigan



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Enviro-Mich message from "Jack Lanigan" <jlanigan115990MI@comcast.net>
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> I have a little bit of knowledge concerning the oil and gas industry in
> Michigan, and I thought it wise to respond to the comment below.
>
> Companies that explore for oil and gas receive permits from the State to
> conduct their operations.  The State prepared rules that stipulate the
> various responsibilities during drilling operations.  Those rules, when
> proposed, are subject to public comment.  I am unaware of any rules
> currently being proposed for comment.
>
> The companies that explore for oils and gas lease the mineral rights from
> the persons who own those rights.  Those persons receive royalties for the
> resources produced from their lands, and the State receives their
> over-riding royalty as well.  (If the State is also the owner, I believe
> they are paid twice.)
>
> Field rule stipulate how far a well needs to be set back from a residence,
a
> property line, a lease boundary, another well, etc., etc.  The State,
> through the Land and Water Management Division, oversees and enforces
these
> rules.
>
> To the best of my knowledge, there are no provisions for public notice or
> public comment on the drilling of oil and/or gas wells on private property
> as long as the requested permit conforms with the rules.  There may be
> requirements to provide notices for drilling on public lands, but I am not
> familiar with that stipulation -- from the information I read concerning
the
> "Mason Tract", I suspect there may be.
>
> The drilling muds are circulated through a complex system of pumps,
filters,
> monitoring devices, and rogation equipment to maintain its intended
> properties and function.  The drilling muds provide confining pressure to
> the gases in the subsurface so they do not escape.  The drilling muds are
a
> cost associated with drilling wells, and they are recovered to the extent
> practical to control those costs.  Spent fluids are stabilized and
disposed
> in an appropriate landfill (probably a Michigan landfill reserved for
> Michigan wastes).
>
> The "pits" at the drilling locations are correctly referred to as "reserve
> pits."  The reserve pits are lined with an HDPE-type material (similar to
a
> swimming-pool liner, but tougher) and clay to contain the liquids.  The
> drillers do not want to loose the liquids simply because they are not
cheap.
> The reserve pit provides an emergency containment area, should it be
needed,
> and could hold an addition volume for drilling fluids should the extra
> volume be needed to contain gases within the well.  Whatever ends up in
the
> reserve pit at the end of the operation is stabilized and disposed in a
> landfill.
>
> Hydrogen sulfide is a noxious and toxic gas that can be fatal at fairly
low
> concentrations.  Every well that may encounter 'sour gas' maintains
> detection monitoring equipment on the drilling platform.  This is just as
> much a OSHA concern as it is an environmental concern.  Drillers can be
> severely injured or killed if significant volumes of the gas escapes.
That
> gas is kept under control by the drilling fluids in the well -- just as
the
> drilling fluids keep the natural gas under control while drilling.
> Please do not hesitate to respond, but I found the positive tone of the
> "Engler-era, hold-over" message refreshing.
> Jack
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
> To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 09, 2003 2:53 PM
> Subject: 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?
> >
> > ======
> >
> >
> > FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
> > 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
> > capacity.
> >
> > 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
> > recommendations.
> >
> > 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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> > and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
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