Scio Township

Roger Rayle / Scio Citizens for Safe Water

Local citizens and scientists have amassed large amounts of information on Ann Arbor’s 1,4-Dioxane plume. Locally sourced information has been invaluable since University of Michigan student Dan Bicknell first discovered the plume.  It has continued with 23 years of data collection by Roger Rayle of Scio Residents for Safe Water.  Has the information been put to good use?  Has it informed decision-makers?  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas continues her exploration of this ongoing issue. 


Facebook/The Ride

Major changes will take place this Sunday, May 1st at The Ride in Washtenaw County.  


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

For over ten years, the cleanup criterion for 1,4-Dioxane in Michigan has been 85 ppb.  This is in spite of the fact that in 2010, the EPA in recommended 3.5 ppb as the screening level for a one in 100,000 cancer risk. Finally, the Michigan DEQ has proposed a safer limit:  7.2 ppb.  Today—Earth Day—WEMU’s “The Green Room” looks a how this may affect Ann Arbor’s groundwater cleanup.


The Ride

Representatives from the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority, also known as "The Ride," will pass out information on service improvements.  


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

In the past two decades, Michigan’s dioxane standards have seen extremes, going from 3 to 85 parts per billion (ppb).  Now 7.2 ppb is being proposed by the MDEQ.  Other states' standards are all over the map.  The EPA’s current recommended levels for dioxane exposure vary greatly as well, depending on multiple factors.   In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at some reasons why it is so hard to come up with uniform guidelines for safe levels of dioxane.


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents for Safe Water

Since 1995, 4,000 prohibition zones have been put in place in Michigan to “manage risk,” i.e. prevent people from coming into contact with contaminated soil or water.  In this installment of WEMU’s “The Green Room,” Barbara Lucas looks at how the balance between cleaning up pollution versus managing the risk is playing out when it comes to the Ann Arbor area's 1.4 dioxane plume. 


Roger Rayle / Scio Residents For Safe Water

In the United States, approximately 10 million pounds of 1,4-dioxane are produced each year.  It is being detected in groundwater at dozens of sites across the country.  Once thought to be relatively benign, new science says otherwise.  Costs to clean it up are high, and communities are grappling with how to deal with it.  In this installment of  “The Green Room,” WEMU  explores the experiences of two cities:  Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Tucson, Arizona. 

 

 

WikiCommons

A 1,4 Dioxane plume has contaminated the well water of a family in Washtenaw County.


Facebook/The Ride

In less than a week, Scio Township voters will decide if they will approve a millage that would expand public bus service in that area. 


Dexter
dextermi.gov

For nearly a decade officials in Dexter have been in the process of making the switch from a village to become a city.  Voters get a final say in November.  Some see it as an opportunity, while others are concerned with what could be lost.


Dexter
dextermi.gov

Michigan's next city could be in Washtenaw County.  Voters in the Village of Dexter decide in November if they approve of a proposed city charter.  Don't expect a lot of changes regardless of the outcome of the vote.


Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

Proposed changes to state law would allow some townships to regulate oil and gas drilling.  Critics of oil drilling in Washtenaw County say the bill doesn't go nearly far enough.


Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

It's ball one in Scio Township.  A Traverse City-based oil and gas company was looking for a strike as it dug its first exploratory well in search of fossil fuel deposits, but missed the plate.  Some local lawmakers and drilling opponents now hope to get on base in Lansing.


Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

The Scio Township Board of Trustees unanimously passed a six month moratorium on all oil and gas operations.  A lead critic of the drilling says this is already making a difference.


Patrick Gibson West Bay Exploration
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Efforts to block West Bay Exploration from drilling for oil in Scio Township have failed. The township board will still consider a temporary moratorium even though drilling has begun.


Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

A Grassroots Organization Vows To Fight On To Prevent Oil Drilling Despite Court Loss 

 Residents of Scio Township are somewhat divided about drilling for oil in their neighborhoods.

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards
oilfreebackyards.org

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
oilfreebackyards.org

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards has filed suit in Washtenaw County Circuit Court, seeking to derail plans for an exploratory oil well in Scio Township.

The suit alleges the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality doesn't abide by its own permitting rules, and that the public was only involved in the process in a superficial manner. 

The MDEQ says its permitting process has a great record of prevailing in such cases. 

West Bay Exploration Company wants to drill the well.  It says the suit will delay the process, but looks forward to moving ahead with drilling.

Group Suing Over Scio Township Oil Drilling

Jul 16, 2014
facebook.com/citizensforoilfreebackyards

The group Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards is taking the effort to prevent an exploratory well from being drilled in Scio Township to court.

The group would not say who it's targeting with the suit, but president Laura Robinson says the state Department of Environmental Quality failed when it issued a permit to West Bay Exploration Company. 

Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards holds an informational meeting at 7 tonight at the Scio Township hall.

Patrick Gibson West Bay Exploration
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The environmental risks of oil and gas developments and local solutions will be discussed Tuesday night at a meeting at the Scio Township Hall.  Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards are hosting the meeting which will include consultant and former Department of Environmental Quality official Chris Grobbel. 


Scio Township Mineral Rights Meeting
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The clock is already ticking for opponents of oil drilling in Scio Township.  The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has until June 20th to respond to West Bay Exploration's application for a new well.


Scio Township Mineral Rights Meeting
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Opponents of oil and natural gas drilling want to fill the Scio Township Hall for tonight's  Board of Trustees meeting.  The Township isn't expected to take any formal action, but Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards hope to have plenty of public comment.   

Courtesy Photo / sciotownship.org

   Overview

Scio Twp residents living near the intersection of Zeeb and Dexter-Ann Arbor roads have received inquiries about leasing the mineral rights on their property from Traverse City-based West Bay Exploration Company.

menards.com

Scio Township is getting a boost to its local economy.

A new Menards store is being built on Jackson Road near Staebler and is expected to open next spring.

Scio Township Treasurer Donna Palmer says the large chain store will likely act as anchor and help attract more businesses to the area.

"The big box stores often have other smaller businesses that surround them if they're in a shopping mall-type area," Palmer says, "so we'll see."

Palmer says the store will help local businesses by bringing more people to the area as well as increasing tax revenue.

Patrick Gibson
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Several hundred people learned more about oil exploration and mineral rights leases at Scio Township Thursday night.  Township officials held an informational meeting at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District facility on Wagner with a variety of experts because West Bay Exploration has leases to explore about one-thousand acres in the township. 


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