Mason superintendent asks state to deny permit
The Mason Schools' superintendent is urging the state to deny Jordan Development Company's application to drill oil in Mason due to potential health risks.
The company is looking to drill oil in Vevay Township which is located near Mason.
In his letter posted to Facebook, Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said, "we urge you to deny this request as the well, which is located within 2,000 feet from Mason High School, contains a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide."
According to the letter, Jordan Development Company said it expects the well to contain hydrogen sulfide. In addition to that, the letter states tests have indicated a high concentration of hydrogen sulfide within the well.
The letter states a test done in 1975 showed a hydrogen sulfide content of 6,130 parts per million.
In addition to that, the letter states the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has stated that hydrogen sulfide levels in the well are "extremely toxic and dangerous presenting a potential hazard to life and property of the community as well as personnel exposed to the operation."
In his letter, the superintendent said, "as you know, hydrogen sulfide is a fast-acting poison, which can impact many systems within a person's body. Following exposure, short-term, or acute, symptoms may include a headache, nausea, convulsions, and eye and skin irritation. Those persons having prolonged exposure to high enough levels of the gas may experience permanent injury to their central nervous system. In light of the above, please consider the potential health risks associated with approve the application. It is our belief that such an approval would put the well-being of our students, and other persons residing within the neighboring area, at risk."
Jordan Development Company is just in the first stage of the two-part process with the state where they asked for a larger drilling area underground than normal and for the court to look at the rights of all the landowners inside the area.
“Normally for a Niagrian well of this type you have to have a standard 80-acre unit. In this case, the company has asked for a 120-acre unit and they’ve also asked for a statutory pooling which is when some of the mineral owners inside of a unit have signed mineral leases,” said Adam Wygant, State Geologist and Director of the oil, gas and minerals division of EGLE.
It’s important to note that oil has been obtained from the ground in the Mason area for years. The company also says the fracking method will not be used.
The proposed 120-acre drilling site would be located south of Kipp Road between the railroad tracks and Eden Road. Vevay Township Jesse Ramey says the township has no control over whether it happens or not and can only submit comments to the state.
"There's some people who will not like it, some people are not concerned, but here again it's not our call whether it's done or not," said Ramey.
A decision is controlled by the state and is expected in one to three months. The next step would be the permit application approval where the state will look into any potential environmental impacts. The state will also look into public health and safety concerns before the permit is approved.