Don’t Drill the Hills (DDH) does what the Mayor of Rochester Hills is reluctant to do – invite you to the CITY’S Oil and Gas Information Open House. So, here is a Don’t Drill The Hills press release inviting ALL Rochester Hills residents. DDH_Press_Release_5_1_2014
City of Rochester Hills – Oil and Gas Exploration Information Open House
Monday, May 5, 2014
800 West Avon Road, Rochester Hills
Richardson Center Theatre
The format will not include presentations, but rather offer an informal open house with opportunity to “ask the expert” one-on-one questions.
The panel originally arranged by City officials of Rochester Hills, included: representatives from Jordan Development Company and/or their partner West Bay Exploration, the companies seeking mineral leases in the city; Hal Fitch, Assistant Supervisor of Wells, representing the Office of Oil, Gas, and Minerals (OOGM) – a division of the State regulatory agency Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ); and Rochester Hills City officials. Only residents on a limited invitation list, chosen by the City, were notified by mail.
A DDH member contacted city officials on Monday protesting the unbalanced panel, oversight in not notifying all residents, particularly in the leasing areas, as well as the short notice. In response to DDH’s intervention, Mayor Bryan Barnett announced at the April 28th City Council meeting that they would be inviting a member of the Michigan Environmental Council to the event, and that all residents are welcome to attend. Councilwoman Steph Morita requested that efforts were made to also notify all residents. On Tuesday, April 29, the City added this meeting notice to the City’s website. Note that this “Notice” is not a press release which limits the exposure. Also note that the notice says “Publish Friday, May 2, 2014”, 3 days after it was written, and only 3 days before the meeting. The short notice would further limit the exposure.
It is unclear why the City chose a private facility to host the meeting. This is technically a private meeting, open to the public, facilitated by officials from the City of Rochester Hills, but not covered under the Open Meetings Act.
While the chosen format is not conducive to proper resident education, and the chosen panel may not be balanced, DDH believes that residents should still attend the meeting. It is important to evaluate both sides of the argument to make an informed decision. More information on the financial and environmental risks of oil and gas exploration in high density neighborhoods can be found on this website.