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E-M:/ Mason Tract Drilling hearing



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Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>
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FILETIME=[B00DDB30:01C351E3]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2003

CONTACT:  Patricia Spitzley
                         (517) 241-7397

DEQ Announces Public Meeting on Proposed Gas Well Near Mason Tract

The DEQ, in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service and Michigan
Department of Natural Resources (DNR), has scheduled a public meeting on
August 18 to listen to comments and concerns about a gas well proposed
to be drilled near the Mason Tract in Crawford County.  The meeting will
be held from 7 to 9 pm at the Holiday Inn in Grayling, located at 2650
South    I-75 Business Loop.

“Currently Michigan law does not require public meetings for oil and
gas well permits.  However, the unique location of this proposed site,
combined with the substantial public interest generated, compels us to
provide a forum where the public can be heard,” said DEQ Director
Steven Chester.

On May 5, 2003, Savoy Energy applied for a permit from the DEQ to drill
the proposed USA State South Branch 1-8 well.  A Federal drilling permit
application was also filed with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Savoy proposes to drill the 11,000-foot deep well at a site about one
half mile east of the South Branch of the Au Sable River, with the hope
of producing natural gas.  The DEQ has up to 70 days to issue or deny a
permit.  On July 15, the DEQ issued a letter to Savoy Engineering
indicating that its permit application was deficient.

The United States owns the land and the oil and gas rights at the
proposed drilling site, and issued leases for oil and gas exploration
and production.  The proposed well would be directionally drilled, with
the bottom of the well about 1000 feet to the west of the drilling site.
  In January 1999, the state of Michigan leased 240 acres of oil and gas
rights within the area and would share in any income from natural gas
production from the well.

The drilling site is 800 feet east of the Mason Tract—a 5,000-acre
block of contiguous state-owned land on either side of the South Branch
Au Sable River.  The Mason Tract is managed as an area where the public
can enjoy a relatively undeveloped natural environment and recreational
experience.

All oil and gas wells must receive a permit from the DEQ before they
can begin construction.  The DEQ is currently reviewing the permit
application in coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, U. S. Bureau
of Land Management and the DNR.  The agencies are evaluating the
possible impacts of drilling and production activities, including noise
and odors.  The cooperating agencies are also investigating whether
there are feasible alternative locations for the well, and for
production equipment if needed.

Once DEQ approves a permit, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau
of Land Management will complete an environmental assessment, which will
include additional opportunity for public comment, to determine the
suitability of the site and assess environmental impacts.  In addition,
the Federal agencies may set conditions for drilling and production
operations on federal lands.

“The permitting process is a delicate balancing act,” said DEQ
Director Steven Chester.  “While we recognize the need to secure
natural gas, the DEQ has a responsibility to assure that the unique
natural resource values in this area, which include the Mason Tract, are
adequately protected.  We will make sure that alternative locations are
considered and that all appropriate resources to protect the environment
are fully implemented.”

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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
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