DEQ Considers Oil Company's Petition to Take Mineral Rights from Saline Township Couple

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 06/19/2013 - 17:11

A group opposed to oil and gas drilling in Saline and Lodi townships is encouraging residents to attend a hearing at Saline Township Hall Friday afternoon.

The Michigan Department of Environmental quality has scheduled a 2 p.m. hearing on Paxton Resources’ petition to require Michael and Lorraine Armbruster to give up their oil and gas rights.

A post on NoPaxton.com urges residents to attend the meeting in support of the Armbrusters.

"We strongly encourage any and all folks to come out and support the Armbrusters and send a message to the MDEQ. No means no, and we're not going away," read a post on NoPaxton.com.

But the meeting and show of support may not take place. A lawyer representing the Armbrusters said a deal may be reached before the hearing.

“We are pretty sure we will come to terms with an acceptable oil and gas lease with Paxton Resources. It’s likely the proposed hearing will not be needed,” attorney Larry Elkus said.

Reached by phone Wednesday, the Armbrusters declined to comment for the record Wednesday.

The Armbrusters, so far, have declined to lease their mineral rights. But they may not have a choice. Paxton Resources is petitioning the state to give the company the rights through cumpulsory pooling.

Residents involved with the NoPaxton group are opposed to drilling for oil. They’ve expressed concerns about water pollution and air pollution and potential health risks. They also have concerns about quality of life issues and reduced property values. In 2012, after hearing a presentation from Lodi Township resident and Quantum Signan owner Mitch Rohde, the City of Saline agreed to stop selling bulk supplies of water to Paxton Resources and other out-of-town companies. Massives amounts of water are used for oil drilling.

On the other side, residents are selling their mineral rights in hopes an oil well might pump tens of thousands of dollars a month into their bank accounts.

Paxton Resources been buying mineral rights leases in the Saline area for nearly two years. The company has two producing wells in Saline Township and it applied for a permit for a third, according to the MDEQ oil well maps.

Michigan is the midst of a small oil boom has 3-D seismic technology has taken some of the guesswork out oil exploration.

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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