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Hear From Experts About Oil-Drilling Leases at Town Hall Meeting This Week

'Emerging issue' has proven controversial among some local homeowners and municipalities.

A town hall meeting is planned this week to address oil and gas drilling projects across Oakland County.

Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash will lead a panel discussion with experts who will discuss the impact of the oil-drilling leases. 

The meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the West Bloomfield Township Hall, 4550 Walnut Lake Road.

“This emerging issue is an important one for our region, and my office will hold these kinds of meetings around the county so that our residents can be informed and learn about topics that can affect our quality of life,” said Nash in a press release.

Speakers include Joe Curry, of the Michigan Groundwater Association, Hal Fitch, from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and Michele Economou Ureste, West Bloomfield Township Supervisor. 

Last September, Oakland County residents turned out to a town hall meeting with a speaker representing Michigan Oil And Gas Association, a group including independent oil companies.

There, some residents voiced their concerns about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," in fear of the process involved with drilling locally. The process is controversial because of the possibility of air pollution and toxic chemicals entering the local water supply. 

Are you considered about "fracking"? Tell us about it in the comments.

Darlene Wallace February 26, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Every American citizen should watch the documentary "Gasland". It is a true "eye-opener" as to what happens to the environment due to fracking and how lobbyists in Washington have found ways around EPA standards. I found it downright frightening.
Dale Murrish February 27, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Town Hall meetings are a good idea to raise public awareness. Oil and gas industry experts can testify about the safest ways to develop our natural resources, while environmental groups raise concerns about water quality. Residents can write letters to their state legislators. This issue should ultimately be decided there, with laws modeled after other states, after testimony by experts with data. Not with a citizen petition bypassing the legislature. Someone tried to get me to sign a petition to ban fracking. I’m an engineer but not an expert on hydraulic fracturing, a specialized topic. I had never heard of it before reading an article in the Patch; the petition circulator could not explain what it was other than it was potentially bad for the environment. Worse yet, it was not for a new law but a constitutional amendment! After millions spent by both sides last November and despite a 30 to one ($31M to $800K) spending ratio to preserve Mr. Maroun’s bridge monopoly, all 5 constitutional amendments were solidly defeated. Michigan needs a ballot proposal to make our constitution more difficult to amend. It seems to be a new method for getting something done when you don’t have enough votes in the legislature – ask the people for an up-or-down vote on a complex issue with one-sided wording and lock it into the Constitution. No thanks! http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/a-guide-to-ballot-proposals-4-5-6
cookiepro2 February 28, 2013 at 08:29 PM
I agree with you on this one, Dale, that is, proposals on complex issues do not belong on the ballot. A relative in AZ was telling me that petition proposals have become common-place on their ballots. One of the problems is they are not well-thought out and if they pass, they are taken to court and found unlawful or unconstitutional in some way. Big waste of time and tax-payer money by special interests groups seeking to bypass legislative proecedure with simplistic and out-right lying campaigns directed at voters.
Dale Murrish February 28, 2013 at 10:44 PM
Maybe we can find out how to circulate a Protect Our Constitution statewide petition. I’ll ask Martin Howrylak about it again. He thought having a supermajority to amend the constitution was a good idea – maybe he and some Democrats in the legislature could help us draft a proposal. The fewer words the better! There are a lot of taxpayer expenses anytime laws are passed; they are challenged in court. Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act has been a drain on the economy regardless of your opinion on legalization. Lots of taxpayer money wasted arguing about it in the courts. Just read some of Rick Thompson’s blog posts: http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/new-dispensary-bill-to-be-introduced-tuesday http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/house-reps-weigh-in-on-mma-and-pending-legislation http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/supreme-court-chastises-internally-inconsistent-interpretations-of-the-medical-marihuana-act
John Anton March 04, 2013 at 06:43 AM
I don't care what the paid experts have to say. Some people will say or do anything for money. It is not worth taking chances of possibly destroying the water purity of the lakes and wells in a highly dense populated area. The drilling is so deep it might take years or decades for the toxic effects to be noticed. There is plenty of desolate land around the country that they can frack. The residents of Oakland County have nothing to gain and lots to lose in this endeavor. Our health is the most important thing we have. Keep fracking out of Oakland County!

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