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Plan for oil drilling in Southfield remains on hold

City, Word of Faith church at odds

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A legal battle over a plan for oil drilling on the property of a church in Southfield turned into a discussion about trees and wetlands Wednesday when attorneys for the city and the church went before a judge.

The city filed a lawsuit against Jordan Development, Word of Faith church and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to prevent the drilling, and a judge last week signed a temporary restraining order the city requested. But Judge Michael Warren said he doesn't have jurisdiction over a case involving the state and dismissed the MDEQ from the lawsuit.

City attorneys said the drilling violates woodlands, wetlands ordinances and a moratorium that are in place. Warren said he will handle those allegations over the next couple of months, and a temporary restraining order remains in place. Warren gave attorneys on both sides until September to file legal motions.

It is expected Southfield will re-file against the MDEQ in Ingham Circuit Court over its issuing a permit for the Southfield project.

“We feel, and I don’t care how safe Jordan Development says this is, or the DEQ, we feel this is very inappropriate in a residential area,” said Mayor Kenson Siver.

Some residents worry that the drilling will lower property values, increase emissions and pose a contamination risk. The church says money from the project would be used for good works.

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