State approves oil drilling at Southfield church

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The state approved a controversial plan to drill for oil at a Southfield church. But opponents say the fight isn't over, it's just beginning.

Oil drills will likely soon start in the wooded 40 acre landscape of Word of Faith Church.

"I don't think there should be drilling here in Southfield," said resident Michael Dean. 

FOX 2 has documented the sometimes heated debate that's gone on for months as the company Jordan Development tried to get state approval to drill. On Tuesday the drilling permit was issued.

"The city frankly did not bring forth anything that would indicate that the permit application would not meet rules and regulations," said Hal Fitch of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. 

Southfield Mayor Ken Siver says this isn't a done deal, filing a temporary restraining order.

"It's not over," Siver said. "We are going to monitor the site."

He says the city is prepared to go to court to request a temporary restraining order to stop the drilling.
As for the church, we were told to leave the property before we could ask for comment.

The real winner could be the drilling company. FOX 2 spoke to the VP of Jordan Development based out of Traverse City and he said the city could benefit from this as well. This has the potential to bring in jobs and tax revenue.
The mayor of Southfield does not see it that way. 

"Those jobs will not be in this city, I don't believe it," he said.

Siver says this action should put other communities on notice.

"Where's next your backyard," he said. "I would be very concerned if I lived anywhere in Oakland County. It is too developed here and it doesn't belong."

The state says there are dozens of oil drilling sites in southeast Michigan and the company followed the letter of the law.
The vice-president tells me there no immediate plans to start drilling and by law they have given five days’ notice before they stick anything in the ground.