Judge Denies Injunction To Delay Scio Township Oil Well

Jul 23, 2014

Washtenaw County Circuit Court Judge David Swartz has ruled against Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards request for a temporary injunction to prevent the drilling of an exploratory well in Scio township.  It's a victory for West Bay Exploration and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
Credit oilfreebackyards.org

Most of the 50 people squeezed into a standing room only courtroom left disappointed with the decision after a 45 minute hearing.

Judge David Swartz says injunctive relief is an extreme remedy.He felt the Scio Township group hadn’t proven they were likely to succeed with their case or that any irreparable injury is more than speculative at this point.

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards attorney Arthur Siegal was surprised the drilling was allowed to go forward immediately, “Not necessarily preventing them in perpetuity but just for a short period of time while the facts would be developed that he could look at to make sure that the environment was protected as much as possible.  And rather than striking balance in favor of preserving the status quo, he chose to let the oil company go forward.”

Laura Robinson of the group says they will take the next 24 hours to consider their options but aren’t stopping with this decision.

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality attorney Dan Bock argued the case wasn’t appropriate at this time and any legal action over permitting is required to be dealt with in the Ingham County Circuit Court.

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— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him acluley@emich.edu.