SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – A public meeting drew hundreds of opponents and supporters of plans to drill an exploratory oil well on a Southfield church property, packing a high school auditorium.
Traverse City-based Jordan Development has filed a permit application to drill at Word of Faith International Christian Center near 9 Mile and Evergreen roads. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality held the public meeting Wednesday night at Southfield High School to get public input before moving ahead.
Many attending the meeting voiced concerns drilling would lower property values, increase emissions and pose a risk of contamination. Residents like Rosemary Allen are wary to trust the state because of the Flint water crisis.
“We will not be silent. We will not allow our community to be used as an experiment. We’re talking human lives here, let the church say amen. So no means no to drilling,” she said.
Church members, like Stephanie Jones, say they’re doing everything by the book of the MDEQ.
“Word of Faith is within the guidelines required by the DEQ, the most stringent group in the country when it comes to oil drilling. You must base your decision on your own rules that you set in place — the same rules you have provided for property owners in Livonia, in Troy,” she said.
The city opposes the drilling and has a moratorium in effect until April 28 on oil and gas extraction and mining operations.
Ben Brower, with Jordan Development, has said the drilling won’t put residents in danger. He told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas there are already 48 wells producing oil in Oakland County — including one on Michigan State University’s Troy campus. Brower said Wayne County has 28, with one behind Costco in Livonia and one on the campus of Schoolcraft College. He said St. Clair County has 475 and Macomb County has 158.
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