Permitting and Public Comment

Permitting and Public Comment

Michigan

  • Permits and public comment periods are required for the following types of fracking activities:
    • All new gas wells
    • Conversion of an existing well to another type of well
    • Large quantities of water (one or more cumulative total withdrawals of over 100,000 gallons per day on average for 30 consecutive days) resulting in the transfer of water between watersheds
    • Plugging of a well
  • You can sign up for email updates regarding permitting, comment periods, and hearings by visiting this website and entering your information. You can also check the MDEQ calendar, which is updated every two weeks, for public hearings, permit modifications, and comment periods at this website. If you believe activity is occurring without the required permitting, then contact the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Oil and Gas Permitting Division at 517-284-6826.
  • Under Part 615 of NREPA, cities, villages, and townships can offer comments or recommendations during the permitting of a well, which the Supervisor of Wells must consider. The Supervisor of Wells can be contacted at (517)-241-1515.
  • The following areas are off limits to drilling under Michigan law. No activity shall be permitted if drilling occurs beneath the Great Lakes, connecting bays, harbors, or connecting waterways, or  450 feet of a residential building in areas with populations of 70,000 or more (Exceptions can happen if property owner gives consent or if Supervisor of Wells that no waste will occur and no alternatives are found).
  •  All rules and orders issued by the Supervisor of Wells require a public hearing before final issuance. The exception to this would be if the rule/order were issued for an emergency. More information on rules and orders can be found here.
  • According the Part 615 of Michigan’s Environmental Protection Act, the Supervisor of Wells can be petitioned to hold a public hearing to evaluate the desirability of actions and orders taken by the Supervisor of Wells. The petition must be properly filed (see here for stipulations) by an interested person, property owner, permittee, or lessor , as determined by the Supervisor of Wells. If a hearing is scheduled, notice must be given to leasee, lessor, and others who have shown interest via newspaper of general circulation at least 21 days prior to hearing. Contact the Supervisor of Wells to file a petition at fitchh@michigan.gov or (517)241-1515.
  • According to the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, a hearing must be granted when requested by an owner/occupant of a structure within 300 feet of a property considered for a special use permit. More detailed information is available here. Contact your local zoning board to request a hearing. If you are unsure who to contact on your township board, you can use this link to find out.

Ohio

  • Permits and public comment opportunities are required in Ohio for the following types of fracking activities:
    • All new gas wells
    • Existing wells that will be drilled deeper or reopened
    • Conversion of existing well from one type to another
    • Plugging back a well to a source of supply different from the existing source
    • Class II wells used to inject fluids, primarily oil-field brine, into deep, underground geological formations for disposal or for secondary oil recovery
  • If you believe any activity is occurring without a permit, contact the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas at (614)265-6382.
  • You are required to be notified if a permit is filed under the following circumstances:
    • If you are the property owner
    • Municipalities, townships and/or counties
    • If you are a property owner located within 500 feet of a proposed well
    • Property owners must pass notification on to residents who live on the affected parcel
  • A groundwater withdrawal permit must be obtained for operations that will use on average more than 100,000 gallons a day from the Lake Erie or Ohio River Basins. The ODNR will notify the public of a completed application through a press release or other general means. The ODNR will hold a public meeting to explain the proposal and solicit comments if enough interest is shown from the public.  Written public comments can be submitted for 60 days after the notice is made.
  • You can participate in public hearings pertaining to the application of a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by fracking operators. A NPDES permit is required where fracking operations will discharge wastewater directly to any surface waterbody. Public notice is required as part of the permit process and you have 30 days to contact the OEPA if you wish to be on a mailing list for information on that application, or if they wish to have a public hearing.  The Director of the Ohio EPA is required to schedule a public hearing if enough significant interest is shown from the public, so it is important to get others involved. Public notices are posted by the OEPA here.
  • If fracking operations will affect wetlands, operators would need to obtain 401certification. You can submit comments, view active permits, and contact Ohio EPA staff here.

Pennsylvania

  • Permits are required from the Department of Environmental Protection for the following fracking related activities:
    • New gas wells
    • Conversion of well from one type to another
  • Citizens can sign up via email to be notified when permits are sought here.
  • Under the Clean Streams Law, any citizen has the opportunity to submit comments to the Department before any final action that would impact streams are issued.
  •  Written consent is required for issuance of permits in the following instances:
    • If a conventional well is to be located within 200 feet of a building or water well, surface owner or water purveyor consent is required.
    • If an unconventional well is to be located within 500 feet of a building or water well, surface owner or water purveyor consent is required.
    • If an unconventional well is to be located within 1000 feet of a statutorily-specified water source, water purveyor consent is required.
    • HOWEVER, in all of these instances, if consent is not granted, variances may be granted to still allow permitting.
  • Erosion/Sedimentation control permits are required for activities not subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The public must be given an opportunity to submit written comments. At least 30 days prior to the issuance of such a permit, the Department of Environmental Protection will publish notice of an application in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The public then has the opportunity to view the document and furnish comments to the listed contact information.
  • Issuance of regulations, rules, and orders by the Department of Environmental Protection requires a public hearing. Notice of agency actions are posted here.
  • The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission must hold a public hearing regarding the spacing and integration of wells in an area to decide appropriate location. The agency will publish notice of the hearing for two weeks prior in the largest newspaper within the affected county.
  • Municipalities may submit comments about the location of wells and any circumstances that should be noted when reviewing a permit application for an unconventional well. Consideration of comments, however, is not mandatory for the reviewing agency.

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