SOUTHFIELD (AP) – An oil and gas exploration company has applied for a permit to drill an exploratory well on the grounds of a suburban Detroit church despite concerns in the community about possible environmental effects.

Jordan Development of Traverse City applied to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for permission to drill at the Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, The Oakland Press of Pontiac reported.

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The company and the church have entered into an oil and gas lease agreement and filed papers with the Oakland County Clerk’s Office. Company vice president Ben Brower didn’t disclose how much Jordan Development paid the church, but said the money the church will receive if exploration is successful will help the community.

Southfield recently passed a 180-day moratorium on oil and gas extractions in the city due to environmental concerns. The city’s acting mayor, Donald Fracassi, said the city has some “investigation” to do before officially allowing companies to drill.

“We are very concerned about our parks and land,” Fracassi said.

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A statement by Jordan Development said the well at the church will be located in dense woods, “at a significant distance from any residents or property owners.”

“Protecting drinking water and groundwater is also of paramount importance to Jordan Development,” the statement said.

Oil and gas exploration efforts in Oakland County and other parts of suburban Detroit have been facing opposition from community leaders and private citizens. A group called Don’t Drill The Hills has been campaigning to stop such drilling in Rochester Hills.

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