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Community group near Ann Arbor tries to stop new oil drilling

Laura Robinson

Exploratory oil drilling could come to Scio Township, near Ann Arbor, soon. But a community group has a filed a lawsuit to try to prevent it.

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards filed the lawsuit against the oil company, West Bay Exploration, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

The group claims that DEQ did not follow its own rules meaningfully when considering the drilling permit.

Laura Robinson heads the group.  

 "So we wanted to stand up and say, you know, the public needs more than this," said Robinson. "We need more than being victim to the oil and gas industry. The public is more important than an industry."

But the oil company said it followed all the required procedures in applying for a permit.

Patrick Gibson is the vice president of West Bay Exploration, the company that wants to do the drilling near Ann Arbor.

"We wanted to all make sure that everyone’s concerns were addressed, and I believe that we have met all of those requirements and there should be no reason why we’re not drilling in the near future," said Gibson. 

The DEQ did not respond to a request for comment. The first hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday.

– Reem Nasr, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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