LANSING — State Representative Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) are introducing a bipartisan proposal to create an Oil and Gas Commission that would have the ability to supervise the issuance and denial of oil and gas permits by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. While citizens may currently offer opinions on proposed drilling projects, Reps. Moss and Lucido said many citizens feel their concerns are being ignored by MDEQ.

“Citizen input to oil development in a neighborhood must happen on the front end of the decision-making process, not largely ignored by the MDEQ once the decision is already made to drill,” Rep. Moss said. “This plan would create an appointed board that would have oversight on the permitting process and the authority to override MDEQ decisions.”

The proposal would create a 16-member commission comprised of the MDEQ director and 15 members appointed by the governor. These members would include commerce and industry representatives, local government officials, medical experts, water resources and geology experts, members of environmental organizations and the general public. They would have supervisory authority over the issuance, denial, revocation, suspension or modification of permits. The commission would also field complaints and concerns from local communities and could require the MDEQ to take investigative or enforcement action, or could request the state attorney general to take action.

“Government works best when it is responsive to the people,” Rep. Lucido said. “When I came to office, there was an uproar in my community because oil and gas exploration was going on, and the residents of the area being explored did not feel like their voices were being heard. By creating this commission, we give the people of the state of Michigan a place to go to voice their concerns with the ability to act on those concerns.”