Group protests drilling at Southfield church site

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – ​Protests were held in Southfield on Sunday as the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality plans to make a decision this week on oil drilling in the city.

A deal between a church and an oil exploration company would allow the search for oil to begin soon and many residents in Southfield are trying to fight it.

Dozens protested in front of the Word of Faith International Christian Center over the plan to allow oil exploration on church property.

Jordan Development, the drilling company, is awaiting approval from the MDEQ.

“Even if they drill and find nothing, they are still putting stuff into the ground that will pollute the groundwater,” said Nancy Smith.

The extra layer of complication is that Southfield has a moratorium on oil and gas drilling. The mayor and state Rep. Jeremy Moss were out protesting.

“We already have enough problems in Lansing with the DEQ,” Moss said. “We don’t need to compound those problems by having the DEQ issue a permit when the city officials have stood strong and said ‘We don’t want this in our community.'"

Leaders of the church would not offer any comment.

Jordan Development said in a statement, “The well will be located in a dense woods, visually screened and at a significant distance from any residents or property owners.”

Moss is having a town hall meeting to discuss oil drilling in depth on Jan. 27 at 6 p.m. at the Southfield Public Library.