Several hundred people learned more about oil exploration and mineral rights leases at Scio Township Thursday night. Township officials held an informational meeting at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District facility on Wagner with a variety of experts because West Bay Exploration has leases to explore about one-thousand acres in the township.
It was designed as an informational meeting about oil exploration in Scio Township, but most of the people in attendance hope to prevent any drilling. They fear state and federal laws leave their community largely powerless to stop it.
West Bay Exploration Vice President Patrick Gibson says this attitude isn’t surprising since the area hasn’t dealt with this issue in the past. Gibson believes his company drills for oil in an environmentally friendly manner and encouraged community members to check with people living in the Irish Hills area where they have also drilled for oil. Gibson told community members his company won’t be bringing hydraulic fracturing or fracking to Scio Township.
Scio Township Trustee David Read thinks the meeting met the initial goal of getting people talking about the pros and cons of oil exploration. He adds additional meetings will likely be needed since many new questions were raised, even as some were answered.
State Representative Gretchen Driskell moderated the event which also included representatives from the Michigan State University Extension , the Sierra Club, Michigan's League of Conservation Voters, and James Clift from the Michigan Environmental Council.
— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.