Environment
12:28 pm
Sun April 1, 2012

Michigan recreation land could be leased for oil, gas rights

Parts of a state-owned recreation area in Livingston County could be tapped for gas and oil.

About 100 parcels of land along the Lakelands Trail and in the Brighton Recreation Area could be leased at a Department of Natural Resources auction next month.

Tom Wellman directs the DNR's mineral management section. He says although the mineral rights could be leased, no actual drilling would be allowed to take place on the land -- only on adjoining or adjacent property.

"They're allowed to use those minerals as part of a larger drilling unit, or perhaps directionally drill beneath it, and produce it, but the operations themselves have to take place off  that land," Wellman says.

"It would be scattered, individual, one or two well kinds of sites, not where you have a whole field with numerous wells, drilled one right after the other."

Wellman says companies will probably look for oil as opposed to gas --  in the Brighton area. He says the DNR has already received public input … but people can still comment.

He says there would be little impact on wildlife, and park use would not be interrupted.

Wellman says gas and oil leases on state land generate between $40 million and $50 million annually.