Au Sable-area drilling OK'd

Discussion in 'Outdoor News' started by Hamilton Reef, Feb 2, 2005.

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  1. Au Sable-area drilling OK'd
    Conservation groups vow to fight gas well under Mason Tract


    Natural gas drilling in some of the Lower Peninsula's last true wilderness was OK'd by federal regulators late Tuesday. Conservation groups immediately promised a last-ditch appeal.

    The U.S. Forest Service approved a plan by Savoy Energy of Traverse City to drill a well under the Mason Tract of forest near the Au Sable River, concluding that it would not negatively impact an area prized for trout fishing and scenic vistas.

    "After the proposed drilling operation is completed and the area restored as required, visitors to the Mason Tract would not be able to see or hear the operations of the well or the production facility," wrote Leanne Marten, forest supervisor for the Huron-Manistee National Forests in a news release Tuesday.

    "Unadulterated baloney," replied Marvin Roberson, forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club's Michigan chapter.

    He said the group, likely in tandem with the Anglers of the Au Sable organization, would appeal the decision within 90 days. Other groups may also file appeals, he predicted.

    It will be the last option short of a lawsuit before Savoy is allowed to drill.

    Savoy officials did not return phone calls placed to their office this week and have not responded to written requests from the Free Press for interviews.

    Drilling opponents had been buoyed in recent weeks when U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak asked the Forest Service to deny the permit.

    But those hopes were dashed with Tuesday's decision -- the final regulatory hurdle for Savoy.

    State Department of Environmental Quality regulators granted their approval in late 2003. State officials said they had no legal grounds to stop the company from drilling but required Savoy to install industrial-grade mufflers, limit their construction operations to winter months, and promise to restore the landscape to its natural state when construction is complete.

    Environmentalists, anglers and hikers fear noise from the construction and operation of the 11,000-foot exploratory well will spoil the serenity of the 5,300-acre tract of state-owned forest near Grayling.

    Though the state owns the tract, its mineral rights are administered by the federal government, which granted drilling leases to Savoy in the 1990s with virtually no input from state officials or public notice. Savoy will drill from a location on federal land underneath the Mason Tract, in a search for natural gas. If gas is found, requests for other wells in the federal forest could be forthcoming, state officials have said.

    The land was named for George Mason, who donated 1,500 acres that started the tract upon his death in 1954. He stipulated that the land be maintained as wilderness.

    It includes large stands of jack pine, red and white pine, oak and other hardwoods. It also is the ground of Mason Chapel, an open-air riverside church that has hosted weddings, baptisms, meditation sessions and ash-scatterings.

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  2. Mason Tract drilling gets go-ahead
    Savoy Energy's plan given approval by Forest Service

    "I know that not everyone will be happy with this decision, but I hope people will recognize that forest management must be based on laws, regulations and science," Marten said in a statement Tuesday.

  3. That absolutly stinks!!! about during? I for one do not want to hear pumps, smell anything foul, I do not want soil contamination, I don't want to be walking thru the woods while bird hunting and see this. State receive a great gift and now the federal governement is going to laugh in our face?
    Where are you George Bush????
  4. Where are you George Bush????

    GW Bush is right where he has always been solid behind drilling anywhere he can for his oil campaign contributors. The Forest Service bosses in Washington have received their orders to pass down to Michigan. Screw the AuSable River, money is more important.

  5. :yeahthat: You know it!!

    We had that debat about allowing drilling in Alaska. There were an awful lot of G.W. supporters on this site who had no complaints at all. Well this is a direct result of that type of support. Now it's in our own back yard where it really counts for us and we are held helpless becuase G.W. is going to go with drilling everytime!! :sad:

    We had already done petitions. The Siera and Ausable Anglers will file an apeal. Is there anything at all I or anyone else for that matter can do?
  6. This drilling is not on the Mason Tract but adjoining land. “I know that not everyone will be happy with this decision, but I hope people will recognize that forest management must be based on laws, regulations and science,"

    Spending our emotional capital on this matter makes about as much sense to me as blaming it on President Bush. This is akin to the city people who moved into the country and then sued the farmer because he sprayed fertilizer on his crop and the smell offended their sensibilities.
  7. Come on, Split. You been around longer than that. Your analogy is like apples and oranges. A more appropriate analogy would have the farmer suing (or shooting at) the new city folks who moved in and decided to, well, start drilling on his back 40. Oh wait, that's exactly what is happening - only it's not on farmland, but on one of the more impressive pieces of state-owned land in the LP.
  8. what science? Science says that it creates noise pollution, air pollution, and possible ground water pollution. There are many instance of drillings that have gone hay wire.

    So your all for this? where do you draw your line? Or is it ok if this is done on all the rivers in Michigan. The Yellow Dog will probably lose their battle. How great it will be to be bird hunting up there in the flat and see all sort of fencing and diesel generators. :bash:

    Also who is in charge of the federal governement? Where does the buck stop.....Bush
  9. I heard on the news that there are 250 oil wells near the Au Sable already. If it's such a big problem why haven't we heard anything complaints about them?

    This is over hyped in my opinion. There are probably thousands of oil wells up north and there all in a watershed. How many problems have we heard about with those wells?
  10. That's ridiculous.

    I don't even know where to begin. Bend over and grab your ankles sportsmen, there's more development to come.

  11. Where do you draw the line?

    There are tons of wells south east of the Au Sable. But those are not right by the Au Sauble. THey are over the place. I've gone hunitng around them They are loud, smokey, and a complete eye soar. Just because you haven't seen them does not mean they are not a hinder.
  12. More like apples to apples Creek Chub. Where does ones property rights start and where do they end? Is this issue a little touchy-feely or some noble cause? The Mason Tract is so important that we should stomp on the property rights of others because they “might” cause harm. Why don’t we stop all development because it might cause harm? While were at it, why don’t we make all the rich people pay the bills for all the poor people?

    What the hell does this statement mean; Science says “There are many instance of drillings that have gone hay wire.” Is that your reason for trying to stop someone using their land for a legal practice? It’s like some of you are having a little temper tantrum. And I hate Bush because that’s where the buck stops! So there!

    Buddy, your absolutely right, the thought of you bent over holding your ankles is not only ridiculous it is revolting. Give it up guys, you lost! Find some other venue to espouse your hatred. Very sad indeed.
  13. Property rights? You do realize this is not private property we're talking about here don't you? The Mason Tract and the proposed drilling site are on public land.
  14. There is no proposal to drill on the Mason Track and yes I know it is state land. The principle is still the same if a company is granted rights to the state land. I think if you look at the facts, you will find those rights were upheld by the court.
  15. I guess as long as I'm driving a car that runs on gas and heat my home with natural gas I'm not going to b*tch when somebody is trying to supply a product that I've helped create a demand for.

    You can argue all you want that this is a "pristine wilderness". But that argument could be made for most of upper Michigan. As a matter of fact it could be argued that fisherman do alot more damage to the rivers and streams in Michigan than this well ever will.

    Buddy, all you have to do is design and manufacture a practical alternative to the internall combustion engine and then you can sound the alarm as loud as you want.

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