Picture of Shelby Twp. drilling rig
Some of you may be aware of the struggles that our neighboring communities have had with Oil and Gas drilling activities. Shelby Twp. and Rochester Hills are two of our closest neighbors that have been involved in that fight. A recent filing by West Bay Explorations now may place Oakland Township in the fray.
What follows is a link to the Don’t Drill the Hills (DDH) website that indicates that the property owner of 3700 Dutton Road made an agreement with West Bay Explorations on July 23, 2012. The company has now filed the signed oil & gas lease agreement with the County allowing the company the right to put a well on that property. This parcel is near Musson Elementary School in Oakland Township. The residents of Oakland Township have not been involved in any discussions with the Township Board on this issue.
The Board is finally considering changes to our Zoning Ordinance (Ordinance 16). The citizens need to ensure that our leadership adequately protects us from undesirable wells in our community.
Here are excerpts from Don’t Drill the Hills website:
Don’t Drill The Hills has been actively watching for records filed with the county involving oil and gas leases. On May 11, 2015 West Bay Exploration filed with Oakland County an oil and gas lease which allows surface activities including drilling rigs, pipelines, access roads, and storage tanks on 18.82 acres at 3700 Dutton Rd, adjacent to Musson Elementary school. With a wellhead at this location West Bay can horizontally drill, using an “acid matrix stimulation” method up to two miles away.
If you are concerned about industrial activities being permitted in residential areas, you need to ACT NOW! DDH started warning residents over one year ago about the possibility of drilling activities in the area discussed today. Contact your local officials, the DEQ, and your state legislature telling them you don’t support drilling near our schools and neighborhoods. The drilling has not yet started. The time to voice your concern is now… before the wells go in!
Here is the link to the website that disclosed this new filing in our community:
Link to “Don’t Drill the Hills” posting
Here is a copy of the Oil and Gas Lease that was agreed upon on July 23, 2012, but only recently filed with the County on May 11, 2015:
(click on image to enlarge it)
Here is a map showing the location of the property (the proposed well site is outlined in red):
(click on image to enlarge it)
Here is a link to a Channel 7 news broadcast pertaining to a well site in Shelby Township:
ABC news report on Shelby well site
Here is a link to a Channel 4 news broadcast pertaining to the well site in Shelby Township:
NBC news report on Shelby well site
The citizens of Oakland Township must demand that our Township Board protect our community from inappropriate drilling sites. As they make changes to Ordinance 16, they must include wording that protects us to the fullest extent of the law. A drilling site is capable of horizontally drilling under large acreage parcels, as well as homes and schools, to get to where they have obtained oil and gas access rights.
Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township? Oakland Township has certainly had our share of issues since the new Board was elected in 2012. The drilling issue may now be heating up to the point where citizen involvement is not only important, but essential to prevent the type of issues Rochester Hills and Shelby have had. Proper legal wording in our Ordinances may plug some of the loopholes that have recently been created by our State Legislature on this matter.
I suggest that our Board set up a separate public meeting to discuss just this issue. They should invite representatives from the Shelby Citizens Against Residential Drilling (CARD), and the Rochester Hills Don’t Drill the Hills group (DDH) to educate interested Oakland Township citizens, and Board and Parks Commission members on this subject. The Board should also send letters to all Home Owner Associations informing them of the proposed meeting.
Fortunately, the Shelby CARD group is willing and able to aid our Township in establishing a group of informed and concerned citizens to help protect our Township using their many ‘lessons learned’. Since they are a Township, they are familiar with the unique regulations controlling what Township’s can do as compared to cities. We need to take advantage of their expertise and not ‘reinvent the wheel’.
Our community needs to ‘get out in front’ of this issue. We also need to support our surrounding communities in their fight over this issue.