Michigan communities are considering their role in regulating oil and gas development

An MSU Extension webinar will help local planning officials understand the state regulatory framework and restrictions on local authority.

Despite falling oil prices, there is a lot of current attention about oil and gas development in Michigan. Concerns about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology and proximity of drilling operations to residential areas are causing local officials in some areas of the state to consider their role in regulating this industry.

Michigan State University Extension is conducting an introductory webinar to help local land use officials understand the issues and restrictions on their authority on Thursday, February 19, 2015, 7 – 8 p.m. The presentation is designed primarily for Master Citizen Planners, but anyone may register. It is one of a six-part series of webinars on a variety of current planning topics.

In recent years, some communities have enacted moratoriums, zoning regulations and other requirements related to oil and gas development. State legislation grants local government authority to protect health, safety and welfare through zoning and other regulation, although that ability is limited when it comes to this industry. The state’s Supervisor of Wells, for instance, has exclusive authority to issue all permits related to most drilling activity, and the Zoning Enabling Act prohibits counties and townships from regulating the drilling, completion, operation, abandonment and location of oil and gas wells. Preemptions like these are enacted to establish a statewide energy development policy and uniform regulations.

Even though state laws preempt most local government authority to regulate oil and gas development, that prohibition is not absolute. During the webinar, participants will learn about the laws limiting local oil and gas industry regulation, and approaches some communities in Michigan are using within the scope of their authority.

The cost for the webinar is $10 for Master Citizen Planners; $20 for other participants. Please pre-register online to attend.

For more information about this and other MSU Extension land use education programs, visit the land use planning page. Extension Land Use Educators serve many areas of Michigan.

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