The Environmental Protection Agency stipulates rules and regulations for all industries, including the oil and gas industry. These include the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency specifically regulates the disposal of production waste.
The Michigan oil and gas industry is directly regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Office of Geological Survey, the Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Public Service Commission. Specific rules regulating the oil and gas industry are found in Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994 as amended (Part 615 Supervisor of Wells and the Administrative Rules of 1996), highlights of which include:
Permitting & Construction
Regulations cover every aspect of our industry - permitting a well, well construction and completion, facility construction, production operations, noise abatement, pipelines and, finally, plugging a well and site restoration.
Most of the volume of waste associated with oil and gas production is salt water, which is commonly produced with the petroleum. The water, or brine, may contain high levels of non-hazardous chloride. Once water is separated from the petroleum, brine is re-injected into the ground (frequently into the zone from which it came, or deeper to protect fresh water) in a state - and U.S. EPA-approved Class II disposal well. Also, some county road commissions use excess bring for dust and ice control on gravel roads.
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
Also known as sour gas, hydrogen sulfide has a high content of sulfur and is a natural byproduct of many industries, including agriculture, salt, paper-making, sewage disposal, and oil and gas. The State of Michigan has stringent rules and regulations that specifically address the handling of hydrogen sulfide by the oil and gas industry.
Many new technologies and methodologies in noise abatement have been developed, and regulations have been updated, to make sure oil and gas operations are as quiet as possible.
Uniform Regulatory Control
Because geological formations that produce oil and gas do not conform to surface boundary lines, and due to the highly specialized technical nature of the business, state rules and regulations cover all oil and gas activities. However, as a matter of policy, drilling permit applications are sent to township and county governments by the state for their input. The oil and gas industry also complies with a variety of local ordinances regarding pipeline rights of way and soil erosion and sedimentation control. In addition, the Michigan Department of Transportation, along with Michigan's county road commissions, regulates the movement of heavy equipment.