UPDATE: According to multiple county officials, at this time, the county has decided not to move forward with Wolverine Oil and Gas' proposal to survey Scotts Mill County Park.
A company wants to look for oil and gas at Scotts Mill County Park in Scotts, Michigan. The Kalamazoo County Parks Commission made a motion to get more information about Wolverine Oil and Gas's plans to survey the park. The commission is an advisory board and does not officially approve such surveys.
Several county residents oppose drilling at the park as does Kevin Wordelman — a county commissioner who serves as the liaison for the parks commission.
Wordelman says he's against oil and gas drilling of any kind, but allowing companies to do so in some parks is “a slippery slope.”
“I think oil and gas companies, if they see there is a profit to be made, they will do everything in their power to get that profit — and I don’t think we should go down that road at all,” he said.
Activists with ProKzoo plan to speak out against the proposal at the county board meeting on Tuesday.
County Drain Commissioner Pat Crowley serves on the parks commission. She says drilling would have little impact on Scotts Mill Park. Plus, Crowley says, we use oil and gas every day and it has to come from somewhere.
“It’s very confusing, as oil and gas consumers, when sort of not-in-my-backyard ideas come up like this,” she said.
In a press release, County Parks Director David Rachowicz said that more research will be done if this issue is brought up again:
“The results of this research and any proposed agreements will need to be reviewed by Kalamazoo County Administration, Kalamazoo County Corporate Council and County Parks Administration. The process could also include public hearings, notification of neighbors and discussions with local jurisdictions as appropriate. The Park Commission then will have all the information needed to make an informed decision. Any agreement recommended by the Park Commission would need approval by the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. The County Board will then have the final say and authority.”
Wolverine originally asked about the possibility of drilling at the Parks Commission's meeting in January. You can read the minutes for more information on its original plans.