LANSING — House Democratic Whip Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and state Rep. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) are continuing their effort to protect residents from the harmful effects of oil and natural gas drilling. Their bills would create public health and safety regulations that would apply to densely populated areas of Michigan, including Oakland and Macomb counties.

“An oil or gas drilling operation in a densely populated area could expose thousands of people to noise and pollution, and could compromise their drinking water,” Rep. Moss said. “Neighborhoods aren’t a proper setting for oil and gas drilling, and Michigan families deserve a state government that values their health and safety more than corporate profits.”

Rep. Moss’ bill, House Bill 4199, would set up stipulations on proposed oil and gas drilling operations in counties with a population of 750,000 or more by requiring stricter setbacks between a well and a residential building, mandating that oil and gas operations comply with local ordinances, and requiring public hearings in the city, village or township in which the proposed well would be located to gather citizen comments about the project.

Rep. Moss also recently introduced HB 4202, which would create a statewide Oil and Gas Commission comprised of 16 members, including state and local government officials, representatives of the oil and gas industry, water and geology experts, environmental organizations and the general public. The commission would have supervisory authority over rules regarding oil and gas exploration and drilling permits.

Rep. Lucido introduced HB 4007, which would set the minimum setback at 1,320 feet, which matches requirements already in law for wetlands and protected wildlife areas.

“We have already set a limit of 1,320 feet for wildlife and wetland protections, why should people be any less protected?” Rep. Lucido said, “I am simply looking for uniformity of the risk zone for oil drilling for all of God’s creatures.”

Reps. Moss and Lucido have been working together in a bipartisan effort to bring common-sense regulations to oil and gas drilling operations for the past year. They were spurred to action when drilling permits were requested in densely populated areas of Oakland and Macomb counties, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality approved the permits over the objections of nearby residents and local governments.