The Ann Arbor city council has passed a resolution opposing the oil exploration and drilling proposed by West Bay Exploration under MDEQ permit application #AI40053. The action took place at the council’s May 19, 2014 meeting.
The drilling would not take place inside the city limits, as the city is empowered by the state to prohibit drilling, which it does through the city code. However, the location in Scio Township is within two miles from the city limits and less than a mile from the Huron River, which is the source of the majority of the city’s drinking water. And the state zoning enabling act – as revised in 2006 – deprives townships and counties of the ability to regulate drilling.
Opposition to the drilling is grounded in concerns about the impact on the drinking water supply of the city, especially in the context of a 1,4 dioxane plume in the area of the proposed drilling activity.
In addition to expressing opposition to the proposed drilling in the shorter term and in the future, the text of the resolution requests that the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality require an environmental impact assessment, including impacts to surrounding natural resources and public health, before making a decision.
Further, the resolution calls on state legislators to revise the state’s zoning enabling act to provide townships and counties with the power to regulate drilling activity.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron.