Plans to drill for oil in Southfield cause concern

- A plan to drill for oil at a Southfield church is fueling a lot of anger.

The city's mayor is among those leading the charge against the plan. State leaders addressed their concerns at a meeting tonight.

The people, who showed up aren't necessarily against oil drilling, they just don't want it done in a residential area, concerned that the real impact is not known.

"Why should they come right to the heart of the city," said Janice Snead who lives near the drill site. "Very inconsiderate."

Sneed is one of hundreds of people who showed up to a Southfield Township Hall meeting concerned about oil and gas drilling, basically in their back yards.

Residents have been fighting the efforts since the Word of Faith International Christian Center and it's Bishop Keith Butler entered an agreement with the Jordan Development Company to drill down 2,900 feet to place a well on the church property off  Nine Mile.

"Even though they made a deal with the church they have a responsibility to the city and the citizens and city of Southfield," Snead said. "As residents we are very  worried about home prices falling."

"There is a lot going on with the water in Flint and I'm very concerned anything can happen in Southfield," said resident Regina Owens.

"The council is against it," said councilman Daniel Brightwell. "We have a moratorium passed by the council and sent it up to the Michigan DEQ to let them know we are against drilling here within the city."

"If we don't stand up and protest this, other entities other companies and businesses will want to do the same thing," said Roger Goolsey, president of Southfield Community Coalition.

From protests to public forums, to city leaders and residents voicing their concerns.

They are worried about the impact to their community and Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash who spoke at the meeting, says -  with good reason.

"Until a few years ago it was very rare to do it in a residential area," Nash said. "There is enough issues surrounding it that pose a potential issue for those living nearby but I think it's important we do what we can to limit this as much as we can."

That's why State Rep Jeremy Moss has introduced a new bill that would not allow the DEQ to issue a permit to drill in a county with a population of 750,000 people, unless the well is 2,000 feet from a residential building and compliant with local ordinances, and the DEQ takes public input into consideration.

But even that isn't good enough for the president of the Southfield Community Coalition, Roger Goolsey, who feels the long term impact is still not known.

"They will say it's okay," Goolsey said. "We won't know until 20 years later."

Bishop Butler from Word of Faith Church is putting together information for the media and is not ready to comment yet.

On the church website it claims there will be no fracking and if oil is discovered the royalty will have a positive income for the community.

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