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Exploratory well in Scio Township comes up dry

West Bay Exploration, an oil and gas drilling company, found no deposits of oil or gas in its exploratory well in Scio Township. So the company is leaving the area – for now.

Scio Township trustees passed a moratorium against oil and gas activities, but the legality of the moratorium was questionable, according to the Michigan Township Association.

And West Bay did not honor the moratorium, according to Laura Robinson of Citizens for Oil-Free Backyards.

She says it's a relief that West Bay has left, but there's nothing to keep them, or another company, from returning, since Michigan law prohibits counties and townships from passing oil and gas drilling bans, or bans on the now common drilling technique known as "fracking."  Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a process of using water, sand, and chemicals to break open rocks and release the oil or gas trapped in between geologic formations.

Robinson's group and others in townships that oppose drilling activities plan to urge the state Legislature to change the state's laws on drilling and fracking.

The groups plan a rally next week at the state Capitol.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.