A Firsthand Account: Support For Bill Comes From Experience
A letter from Pleasanton Township
December 1, 1997 |
Great Lakes Bulletin News Service
One of the main reasons our township has been instrumental in MERC is because the issues surrounding oil and gas development are too big to confront alone. MERC shares our goal -- to create a cooperative partnership with the oil and gas industry that will insure reasonable industrial development in
The following article by Mr. Grabowski, a member of the Pleasanton Township Board, is excerpted from a statement he made at a public meeting in Manistee County on proposed oil and gas legislation.
I am happy to report that we have gotten full compliance from the oil and gas companies that have undertaken Antrim natural gas projects in Pleasanton. They have told the township that they want to work with us, and pledged that being a good neighbor is very important to them.
These companies are complying with our ordinance because it is reasonable, similar to the minimal requirements imposed on other industries, and in no way prohibits them from doing business here. We welcome this cooperation, and are pleased that we have a working relationship with the industry.
This company had plans for over 40 wells and three compressor stations. They sent letters to leaseholders, warning that the Industrial Facilities ordinance was going to make doing business impossible in Pleasanton Township, and that local officials were robbing them of their private property rights. The letters further warned that we had a hidden agenda, which was to stop oil and gas development altogether.
Well, the reality of course is much different, and residents packed our township hall to implore us to make sure our ordinance was obeyed fully. They overwhelmingly supported the defense of our ordinance against attacks from the Geological Survey Division, (the state agency that promotes as well as regulates the development), and the oil and gas industry.
One of the main reasons our township has been instrumental in MERC is because the issues surrounding oil and gas development are too big to confront alone. MERC shares our goal -- to create a cooperative partnership with the oil and gas industry that will insure reasonable industrial development in our neighborhoods.
It comes as no surprise that some members of the oil and gas industry are loudly complaining that the proposed legislation will put them out of business, and that MERC's hidden agenda is to stop oil and gas development. We have heard these ridiculous accusations before. And we have learned our lesson, which is to let reality take its course, to stick to the truth, to be patient, and with time, our reasonable demands will be met.
The days of letting the oil and gas companies and the GSD behave like dictators are over. The days of companies ignoring the people who live and work amongst their projects are over!
The bills currently under consideration by the Legislature are for minimum changes that are long overdue. They are just the start of a process of insuring that townships, counties, and citizens have a say in the health, safety, and quality of life in their communities. We hope our legislators see that these bills become law.u
* It is MERC's goal to establish policies that support the oil and gas industry, respect the rights of landowners and communities, and protect the landscape.
* Townships and counties should be an integral part of the planning and permitting decisions for oil and gas projects. MERC supports a cooperative process that includes representatives from state and local governments, citizens, and the oil and gas industry.
* Local governments and communities are entitled to be full participants in the oversight of oil and gas development. Local government officials know the needs and complexities of their communities, and are more accessible to residents than state agencies.
* Every effort should be made to stop the severance of minerals.
* If the mineral rights already are severed from the surface, MERC supports policy changes to increase the authority of surface owners, and to encourage mineral owners to reunite the minerals with the surface.