A Michigan Department of Environmental Quality hearing on an oil company's petition to force Saline Township residents to give up their mineral rights has been canceled.
Michael and Lorraine Armbruster reached a deal with Paxton Resources ahead of the MDEQ hearing scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at Saline Township hall.
NoPaxton, a group concerned about the health and economic impact of oil well proliferation in the area, had urged residents to attend the meeting in support of the Armbrusters.
Lorraine Armbruster said she was thankful for the support of neighbors.
"It's been a fight and a struggle from the start. I am grateful for the support. We didn't know we had the support of all these people. I wish we'd known earlier, because we've felt all alone on this," Armbruster said.
In the end, Armbruster said, the deck was stacked against them.
"We looked into this and realized the state always sides with the oil company," Armbruster said.
Paxton Resources had purchased the mineral rights from neighbors all around the Armbrusters' 20-acre parcel and the Armbrusters held out. There's an oil well across the road from the Armbrusters' Braun Road residence. Concerned about her health and the unpleasant smell, Armbruster checks the wind direction before going outside, she said.
Cumpulsory pooling is allowed by Michigan law in order for "equitable and efficient" development of oil and gas. When an oil company cannot reach a deal to lease mineral rights from a property owner, it can petition the state to force participation in the oil well. If a property owner is forced into the pool, the owner will receive a what the state believes is fair compensation for the oil or gas.