Nuns and other residents fight land sale near Adrian convent over oil drilling, processing concerns

ADRIAN, Mich. (WXYZ) - A company that leases land to process oil in Lenawee County is looking to buy the property. But a group of opponents, including nuns from a nearby convent are out to stop that from happening.

It was an emotional meeting. People were angry, at other times they were just looking for some type of an answer. But in the end we saw the democratic process hard at work.

It is a fight about oil wells that has been going on in Adrian between the city commissioners and the residents since 2010.

"Some of them remain staunch in that nothing has happened," says Sister Kathleen Erard of the Adrian Dominican Sisters. "So, therefore, it probably won't."

The oil processing site owned by Savoy Energy is near the sister's convent. They don't want the city to sell the land to the company, even though they already lease it because they are afraid of losing oversight over the land.

Sister Kathleen says they're worried about a number of problems, Water contamination, underground seepage from every joint to, you know, there are many, many joints in that pipeline."

However, Adrian's mayor Greg Dumars says precautions are already in place.

"They have to have a pit under those tanks that's one and a half times of the total capacity of all those tanks combined and there's double lining as well, in those pits," Dumars says.

But a sales or lease of the land does not stop any drilling or oil processing, it will still happen.

The Mayor says not selling the land means the city will lose out on $70,000 to $80,000 from Savoy.

Residents still found themselves feeling a victory tonight because they forced commissioners not to approve selling the land, so Savoy will have to go before the board again when their lease is up in one year.

What will happen now? Not even the mayor is entirely sure. He says it'll be up to the oil company whether or not they want to pursue purchasing  the land again or just keeping the lease as is.

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