Protesters Urge Word of Faith Church Not to Drill in Southfield (video)
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 17, 2016)
Southfield, MI – As hundreds of parishioners flocked to the Word of Faith Church at 9 Mile and Evergreen they drove past groups of protesters huddling in the cold, urging them not to move forward with plans to build an oil well on the site.
“I’m appalled that the church would consider drilling for oil on this site, but also I believe this is really incompatible with community living,” said Southfield Mayor Ken Siver, who held signs and chanted along with the other residents. “This is a well-developed area. There are residential neighborhoods and there are people here that get their water out of the ground. A number of people are not on Detroit city water, they’re on wells.”
Word of Faith, under the leadership of former Detroit City Councilperson Keith Butler, has entered into an agreement with Jordan Development Company to place a well on the 110-acre church property. The proposed well would drill straight down 2,900 feet in hopes of reaching oil that may be in the layers of rock below. Jordan Development has applied for a permit through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), who could make a determination as early as this week.
Pam Woodford has been a Southfield resident since 1983. She was among the protesters Sunday morning because she said the drilling would take down the value of her property, and because of how it would impact the environment.
State Representative Jeremy Moss, who served on Southfield City Council before being elected to his current position, is hosting a town hall on drilling. The town hall will be on January 27 at 6pm at the Southfield Public Library. Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash will be there to answer questions about drilling. Moss lives just a mile away from the proposed site.
When asked what the State is doing on issues of drilling, Moss noted that Southfield has a moratorium in place on drilling that “the state is not respecting, and that’s not right. So as we return and resume session in Lansing I’m going to introduce legislation that addresses two things. Number one bans the practice of drilling in dense populations such as Southfield, and two compels the DEQ to respect local ordinances as it pertains to oil and gas drilling in the communities.”
Security at Word of Faith said there was no one available from the church to comment, but the church does have a section on their website urging people to write to the DEQ in support of the well. The site notes that the drilling will be a traditional well and will not involve fracking. It also states that “The well, if oil is discovered, will have a positive impact on the Church and community at large due to the royalty income it will provide and the jobs that will be created.”
For more on the protest, check out the video below. For more on the proposed drilling, check out the links below that.