Tag Archives: Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

Oakland Township Board approves Oil and Gas Drilling ordinance

At the February 9, 2016 BOT meeting, the Oakland Township Board approved the proposed Oil and Gas drilling ordinance for Oakland Township.  The Board passed it in a unanimous 6 to 0 vote (Trustee Ferriolo was not at the meeting).  It was very clear from Board member comments that the Board was in favor of approving the Ordinance.  The purpose of the ordinance is to minimize the impact of oil and gas drilling operations in our Township.

Supervisor Gonser commented that his questions regarding the ordinance had been answered by MDEQ’s response to his request for clarification.  He concluded MDEQ “did not have disagreement with the ordinance.”  Others who read MDEQ’s response interpreted their response differently, but we are grateful for the unanimous support from the Board for the ordinance.

Thanks go to the the citizens that commented on the ordinance. Special thanks should be given to Erin Howlett, from Rochester Hills’ ‘Don’t Drill the Hill’s’, and Denise Demak, from Shelby’s ‘Citizens Against Residential Drilling’. Both helped Oakland Township learn from their community’s’ experience on this issue.

Here is a copy of the ordinance (an earlier agenda is included)

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  With the passage of the ordinance, Oakland Township is now protected, to the fullest extent under the law, from oil and gas drilling operations in higher density residential portions of our Township.  We thank the Board and the Planning Commission for moving rapidly on this issue.

Richard Michalski

IMPORTANT: Draft Ordinance controlling Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township in jeopardy

The efforts of our Township Board to control the location of oil and gas drilling operations in Oakland Township may be impacted by a memo from the Michigan DEQ.  The DEQ’s position is in response to a request from Supervisor Gonser.   As you may recall, Supervisor Gonser was opposed to moving forward with the Ordinance at the January BOT meeting.  The outcome of Oakland Township’s proposed Ordinance may be in jeopardy.

As previously reported on this website, the Oakland Township Board is considering an Ordinance to control the location of Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township.  A second reading of that Ordinance is schedule for the February 9, 2016 Board meeting.  Supervisor Gonser had previously expressed concerns over the Township’s authority to control oil and gas drilling. He voted against moving forward with the draft ordinance.  He contacted the DEQ and asked for their input.  Mr. Harold Fitch, the Assistant Supervisor of wells and Chief office of Oil and Gas & Minerals responded by saying:

“As demonstrated by the definitions (in the Michigan Zoning Enabling Act), the DEQ considers a broad range of operations as subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supervisor of wells and not subject to regulations by Township’s or Counties.”

He basically is saying we, as a Township, do not have any control over the location or operation of oil and gas drilling in our Township.

Here is a copy of his entire response to Supervisor Gonser’s request:

February 2, 2016 DEQ letter

Other communities have been struggling with this issue.  Townships have less control over oil and gas drilling operations than cities. However, Rochester Hills has been involved in recent disputes over their authority to control drilling in their city.  More recently, Southfield has been dealing with this issue.  Here are two current links to the Southfield issue:

Southfield Public meeting on Oil and Gas Drilling in their community

Rep. Jeremy Moss (Southfield) bill to control Oil and Gas Drilling locations

Here is a copy of our draft ordinance:

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Oakland Township may not have much control over oil and gas drilling in our community.  However, we should pursue as much control as possible within the constraints of the law.  At the January BOT meeting, our Township attorney and planning consultants both agreed with what is being proposed in the draft ordinance.  I trust that Supervisor Gonser’s requested input from the DEQ does not change their position on the proposed ordinance.

So what can we do:

  • Attend the February 9, 2016 Board meeting to express your opinion after listening to the discussion by our Township Attorney, Planning Consultant and Board members.
  • If not able to attend the February 9th meeting, watch the proceedings on the Township website, or Comcast cable channel, to learn more about this issue.
  • Contact your State representatives (Michael Webber <michaelwebber@house.mi.gov> or Brad Jacobsen <bradjacobsen@house.mi.gov>) asking them to support Representative Moss’ bill allowing more local control over oil and gas drilling locations.

Richard Michalski

 

UPDATE: Township Board approves first read of Oil and Gas Structure ordinance

At the January 12, 2016 Oakland Township Board meeting, the ‘first read’ of the proposed Oil and Gas Structure Ordinance was approved.  There were several citizens that commented on the draft ordinance.  Supervisor Gonser was the sole dissenting vote.  He wanted to get input from the State and the DNR to get their perspective on how defensible the ordinance would be.

The second read of the Ordinance, and the vote on approval of the Ordinance, is on the agenda for the February 9, 2016 BOT meeting.

Here is a link to the most recent post on this subject:

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Thanks to all those that attended the meeting!

Richard Michalski

URGENT REQUEST: Please attend January 12 Board meeting if concerned about Oil and Gas Drilling in Oakland Township

Shelby well rig (1)

As previously reported on this website, the Oakland Township Board and Planning Commission agreed to develop an ordinance that would minimize the impact of Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township, while protecting individual property rights and still be compliant with Michigan regulations.  The Planning Commission has spent several months working on a draft ordinance.  The draft ordinance was discussed at the December 8, 2015 Township Board meeting.  At that meeting the Board agreed, in a 6 to 1 vote, that the ‘first read’ of the ordinance would take place at the January 12, 2016 Board meeting.  Supervisor Gonser was the single dissenting vote.  He wanted to take more time to study the draft ordinance.  

Public input at Tuesday’s meeting is critical.  It will ensure the Board understands the level of citizen support, and any concerns you may have with the draft ordinance.

PLEASE ATTEND THIS MEETING IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF OIL AND GAS DRILLING IN OUR COMMUNITY! 

                                              DATE:     TUESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2016

                                             TIME:  7 PM      

                                             LOCATION: OAKLAND TOWNSHIP HALL – 4393 COLLINS RD.

HERE IS A COPY OF THE AGENDA & DRAFT ORDINANCE THAT WAS POSTED ON TOWNSHIP WEBSITE ON JANUARY 8:

Janaury 12, BOT meeting agenda and Oil:Gas draft ordinance

A lobbyist for the Petroleum industry was at the December 8, 2015 BOT meeting and attempted to influence the Board members.  His arguments for why Oakland Township should not pass a local ordinance controlling oil and gas drilling were:

  • Just because other communities have an ordinance is not a reason for Oakland Township to have one
  • There are no pending oil or gas drilling permits in Oakland Township
  • State law controlling oil and gas drilling is preferable
  • There will be administrative costs associated with an ordinance
  • Local Auto manufacturers are benefiting from the sale of big profitable SUV’s and trucks due to low oil and gas prices
  • There are many people currently laid off in oil industry due to low oil and gas prices
  • There may be legal challenges (and associated costs) as a result of an ordinance
  • There is no ‘fracking’ in Oakland County
  • Legal challenges could be based on ‘property rights taking’
  • Oil and gas drilling ON STATE PROPERTIES generates revenue for the Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund (MNRTF)
  • Oakland Township has been recipient of grant funds from the MNRTF

Here are previous articles posted on this website regarding this topic:

Supervisor Gonser opposes Township establishing ordinance to minimize impact of oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

“Oil and Gas Drilling” is on July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda

Results of June 23, 2015 BOT discussion on Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

UPDATE: Oil and Gas well sites in Oakland Township and Surrounding Communities

JUNE 21st UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township? Please attend June 23 Board meeting!

JUNE 17th UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township (Church property)?

Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Even though the likelihood of new oil and gas drilling is currently low due to the low cost of oil and gas prices, our community needs to take whatever action is within our legal authority to protect our community from future undesirable oil and gas drilling, while protecting individual property rights.

Richard Michalski

January 8, 2016

Supervisor Gonser opposes Township establishing ordinance to minimize impact of oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township

As previously reported, the Township Board requested the Planning Commission review and develop potential zoning ordinance changes for the Board to consider regarding the control of gas and oil drilling sites in Oakland Township. The Board also put in place a six month moratorium on new oil and gas drilling sites while the Planning Commission and Board potentially take action.  The Planning Commission will begin their efforts on this request at the August 5, 2015 Planning Commission meeting.

The Oakland Press published an article on this matter on August 4, 2015.  In that article, Supervisor Gonser’s opinion on this issue was stated.  Here is what the Oakland Press wrote:

Township Supervisor Terry Gonser, who, along with trustee John Giannangeli, was absent from the (July 14th) meeting and did not cast a vote in the matter, said he is not in favor of addressing oil and gas exploration at the township level because of state laws regulating the act.

Here is the link to the Oakland Press article:

Oakland Township officials to discuss oil and gas drilling regulations

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  Concerned citizens should try to attend the August 5, 2015 Planning Commission meeting and voice their support for having the Township take advantage of neighboring communities learnings regarding oil and gas drilling sites.  The Planning Commission meeting starts at 7 PM, and is held at the Oakland Township Hall on Collins Road.

It is disappointing that Supervisor Gonser is satisfied relying on the State to ‘regulate’ oil and gas drilling in Oakland Township when several of our neighboring communities have put in place a limited level of local protection for their communities. Why would one of our elected officials not try to similarly protect us? I guess the Supervisor’s conservative values concerning individual property rights, big government intervention and regulations also applies to local government regulations, even if those local regulations would protect our residents.  The ‘balanced’ approach that Trustee Ferriolo describes in the Oakland Press article is the more appropriate approach to protecting everyone’s individual property rights.

Here are several previously reported articles on this subject:

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

UPDATE: Oil and Gas well sites in Oakland Township and Surrounding Communities

Results of June 23, 2015 BOT discussion on Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township

JUNE 17th UPDATE: Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Is Drilling for Oil and Gas coming to Oakland Township?

Richard Michalski

Oakland Township Board implements 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in Oakland Township

The Oakland Township Board moved quickly to take action to protect our Township from new oil or gas drilling sites at inappropriate locations in our Township.  At the July 14, 2015 Board meeting, the Board approved two motions in  5 to 0 votes.  Supervisor Gonser and Trustee Giannangeli were not present.  

Newly appointed Trustee Frank Ferriolo made the two motions.  One motion directed the Planning Commission to review our Zoning Ordinances and propose changes they feel may be needed.  The second motion placed a 6 month moratorium on new oil or gas drilling in our Township.  

Here are the two motions:

“The matter of zoning oil and gas drilling within Oakland Township be referred to the Oakland Township Planning Commission for review and consideration of amendments to the Township Zoning Ordinance, and that any such amendments or recommendations be provided to the Board of Trustees in writing within 4 months.”

“Pending a review and consideration of amendments to the Township Zoning Ordinance by the Planning Commission and Township Board of Trustees, a moratorium of 6 months be placed on any zoning or permitting approval of any oils or gas drilling within the Charter Township of Oakland.”

These motions were based on recommendations from our Township Attorney in response to the Board’s June 23, 2015 request.

Thanks should go to the many citizens that provided input at the June 23 BOT meeting.  Special thanks should go to  Erin Howlett, from the “Don’t Drill the Hills” group, and Denise Demak from the Shelby “Citizens Against Residential Drilling” group (CARD), for their help in making this issue visible in our community, but more importantly, helping our Township leadership use their communities’ ‘lessons learned’.

Here is a video of the two motions:

 

Why is this important to the citizens of Oakland Township?  The Board has moved with unprecedented speed in taking action on this issue.  We do not know what the Planning Commission and Board will do over the next few months, but the actions taken at the July 14th meeting give our community the time to put in place defensible ordinances that protect both individual property owner rights and rights of the greater community.

The Board’s quick action is a testament to how our Township can benefit from taking advantage of other communities solutions to regional issues.  No one person or group has a monopoly of good ideas.  Our Board appears to now recognize that.

Time will tell what the Planning Commission and Board ultimately agree upon, but this is a very good first step.

Richard Michalski

 

“Oil and Gas Drilling” is on July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda

At the June 23, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting, the Board asked that the Township Attorney provide some guidance regarding actions that the Board could take to protect the Township from inappropriate Oil and Gas drilling in Oakland Township.  Surrounding communities were successful in putting a drilling moratorium in place until their communities could review and modify their ordinances to protect their communities.

The Oil/Gas drilling issue is on the July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda.

Let our township officials know you support a temporary and enforceable 6 month drilling moratorium. Following the process of the surrounding communities, the moratorium can be predicated on providing the time to investigate and install zoning or other ordinance(s) relating to oil/gas activities and infrastructure.  Since the Board is currently reviewing a proposed draft Zoning Ordinance for Oakland Township (Ordinance #16), it seems appropriate a moratorium could be justified.

The meeting starts at 7:00 PM at the Township Hall located on 4393 Collins Road.

Here is a copy of the agenda:

July 14, 2015 Oakland Township Board meeting agenda

Richard Michalski