Shelby Township Wakes Up To Drilling

Oil Drilling in Shelby Township

Shelby Township residents recently woke up to the sounds, sights, and risks of oil and gas drilling in their neighborhoods.  Inundated with calls from the residents, the MDEQ and Shelby Township officials called for a Town Hall meeting.  The meeting took place on August 7, 2014.  As presented by Rob Huth, Township Attorney, “the purpose of the meeting was to provide residents with information about the oil exploration activities that are ongoing now and have begun in Shelby Township.”

Below are links to the video of the 3 and half hour meeting that took place.  We have provided links to a few specific notable segments in the video.  If you identify any other notable moments, please share them using the comments below.

Presiding over the meeting was Rob Huth, Township Attorney.  Presenting was Jack Lanigan, Area Geologist, Office of Oil, Gas, and Mineral, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).  The oil drilling company running the operation in question, West Bay Exploration, was invited but not present.

Meeting start


Jack Lanigan, MDEQ, presentation

Attorney Rob Huth reads the The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, House Bill 4746, that says “A township shall not regulate or control the drilling, completion, or operation of oil or gas wells

The oil drilling company “West Bay Exploration” said they would not be at the meeting because “we don’t know what is there, we don’t know what to tell the folks”

Start of resident questions

Dan Papineau, Legislative Director for Senator Jack Brandenburg, reads another part of the The Michigan Zoning Enabling Act, House Bill 4746… 
“An ordinance shall not prevent the extraction, by mining, of valuable natural resources from any property unless very serious consequences would result from the extraction of those natural resources.”

He continues saying “Its long been court standing that very serious consequences include the impact on property values in the vicinity of the property, the impact on existing land uses, among others.  Those sound like very serious consequences and being a legislator from Macomb County that Senator Brandenburg is, we never imagined that there would be drilling in Macomb County, they just never have.”  “The standard has long been used in that regard.  So, we never expected this law to impact especially this area, and I was wondering if you have the authority to test that ‘very serious consequences standard’?”


Here we have provided a summary and opinion obtained from the Facebook page “Shelby Twp. Community People and Places” posted on August 10, 2014.

“Once we watched these were our notables. (you may have more)
1. Use of diesel fuel and diesel cleanser, maybe hydracholoric(sp?) acid is permitted and possible use of methanol..all deemed safe
* Mr Randazzo gave a great account of what is was like to live across from the well site at 22 and Vandyke, which is now closed.. Warned it is not desirable.
2. Twp attorney had been to view a few other sites( no mention of other board members) thought that was odd.
3. YES.. Shelby Twp board WAS and is notified when an application is requested for drilling. MDEQ indicates there was no response from them tho.
4. Shelby held public meetings on it both in Dec 2012, and Dec 2013. No objections ( note;;hoping Stcpp can stay on top of these things and let you know about them..Twp plans to continue method of posting in local news and on website )
5. Attorney Huth indicates nothing Twp can do it is all regulated by the state and hands are tied ( this is disputed later in meeting)Refers to recent Republican Candidate Pet Peter J. Lucido for State Representative could do something once in office come Nov..)
6. Office of Oil and Gas Exploration is responsible for monitoring. hey are not there every day but ask residents et all to let them know if they see anything. This was in response to what if something happens. Question re Notification of an issue ie: spillage etc. MDEQ is notified within 8 hours. The company must do remediation and report must be sent is ‘public info.
7. Q: re if company could request Permit modifications, .eventually allowing fracking…after waltzing this, lady at the end answers it..yes was answer.
8. Q Who passed this law curbing local control so much? House bill 4746.And yes The state does get a tax on per barrel oil produced.Brandenburg’s name was mentioned and people encouraged to get a hold of him( but wait he had a representative there.
8. Brandenburg rep got up and READ part of bill which give some local control regarding detrimental effect via property values lost etc. Stated Twp should challenge this drilling via that clause in the law( glimmer of hope ). Huth was concerned he could not answer for board but felt it was States responsibility to change the law ( sigh)
this is towards end..interesting little exchange there.
9. Around the 2:32 mark an irritated resident gets up to complain about board members not being there ( except one.. Nightingale) Now this part frankly it surprised us ” Huth: In defense of the board I am here because they paid me to be here.’. Uh..NO WE the taxpayers are paying you. Left us to wonder if this ‘cost;’ was outside the normal monthly retainer. Next he states he would bring back the 5 recommendations to the board and ASSURED everyone of them would be acted on.( he is not ON the board and has no voting rights btw) ** Looked up the monthly retainer on Twp website:; KIRK HUTH LANGE & BADALAMENTI PLC70404 Monthly Legal Retainer $15,833.33
10. Towards the end ( because he got there about 9 pm ) Mr. Statakis does get up and assure everyone HE is representing the the board., and trust him ” HE is on top of this”. .and then sat down in the audience.

Conclusion: The land owner is Nino homes who was verbally chastised by the residents for doing this , even tho it is legal, it felt like he was not being a good neighbor. Plus evidently he has a site plan for that area which calls for site condo. Laughter in audience as they said not likely they will ever sell. Many upset over values of homes now plummeting again.
As meeting ended many mentioned they will remember this at election time, and the need to be actively involved in community to stop this kind of thing from happening again. Many felt blindsided and want better communication. Hope that fire in everyone’s stomach continues”


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