SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WJBK) - The fight over oil drilling heats up in Southfield.
After a discovery that points to the possibility of lots of oil and gas right under a local church. The church wants to use any potential oil money to serve the poor.
Neighbors are doing everything they can to stop the project – but developers have discovered a promising sign that a wealth of oil is lying beneath the property of Word of Faith church.
A spokesperson for Jordan Development tells FOX 2, they are several weeks into the exploratory drilling process and have come in contact with a Niagara Reef, a large mass of rock which likely holds enough oil to be commercially produced for years.
"I hope they don't find any," said Grace Alexander of Stop the Drilling Southfield. "Because what we have is historical data now, we can look at Irish Hills we can see what happened in that area where it was going to be one drill site, it's now something like 40 drills."
While activists still hope for the off-chance the oil will be absent, there was no comment from the church on the contact made with the intermittent rock layer about 2,800 feet beneath the surface.
"It's not that far-fetched to believe that the property at Word of Faith could soon have 20 drill sites in the next five years," said Alexander. "Soon as the income goes down, they'll put up another one."
The state approved oil drilling back in March on the roughly 40-acre church property. City leaders have promised to monitor the site, where exploratory drilling began about 30 days ago, according to Jordan Development.
If little to no oil is found, the project will be scrapped.
Exploratory drilling and testing will continue for the next few weeks, at that point, we will learn how much oil there is, and if commercial drilling will continue.