Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shelby Township residents push to end oil drilling

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 at 10:05 AM

click to enlarge Eugene S. Nowicki Park is one of three pieces of land owned by Rochester Hills, which leased its mineral rights to an oil and gas exploration company last year. - COURTESY OF DON’T DRILL THE HILLS
  • Courtesy of Don’t Drill the Hills
  • Eugene S. Nowicki Park is one of three pieces of land owned by Rochester Hills, which leased its mineral rights to an oil and gas exploration company last year.


Nearly 700 residents packed an impromptu town hall meeting in Shelby  Township yesterday to protest an oil exploration company's attempt to drill near residential homes, the Detroit News reports

The company, Traverse City-based West Bay Exploration, plans to begin drilling a test well this week, according to the News, in a location as close as 500 feet to nearby homes. The township's board of trustees approved a resolution that would halt oil drilling for six months, but West Bay's chief tells the News there's likely no teeth behind the move.

"I'm not sure their moratorium is anything more than symbolic," West Bay president Patrick Gibson told the newspaper, as the state regulates drilling operations, not municipalities. 

In May, Metro Times reported on a Rochester Hills-based group who sued the City and an oil company with mineral rights leases on city-owned property. The potential for drilling in suburban communities has steadily gained attention over the last year, as critics have voiced concerns about losing property value on their homes and the potential for a harmful environmental impact. 

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