Oil company seeks mineral rights of two Genesee County parks

An oil company wants to lease mineral rights to two Genesee County parks, Richfield County park and Holloway Reservoir (pictured here)

There may be oil under Richfield County Park and oil company, Western Land Services wants it.

â??A well pad could be put on the property,â?? says Mary Uptigrove, director of mineral rights management at Michiganâ??s Department of Natural Resources. â??They could use vertical wells and drain the product.â??

The Department of Natural Resources says it's not unusual to lease mineral rights to oil companies.

The state's 14,000 leases bringing in $242 million in the last decade.

â??The money gets filtered back into and benefits citizens of the state as a whole,â?? says Uptigrove.

But outdoorsmen Denny Crispell says public parks are no place to drill.

â??The parks, they're gems,â?? says Crispell, chairman of The Sierra Club Nepessing Group. â??People need a place to get out with their families,â?? he adds.

â??The Flint River flows through Richfield County Park and so we're concerned with the proximity to the river,â?? says Amy McMillan, director of Genesee County Parks.

McMillan says she's working to make Richfield Park and Holloway Reservoir, Flint's back-up water source, non-leaseable.

â??Our concerns are the possible effect on water quality and also the effect on public recreation in both spots,â?? says McMillan.

â??Thatâ??s not just the park. It belongs to all of us,â?? says Crispell.

Officials with Western Land Services declined comment Monday. The mineral rights for the two parks are up for auction on May 1st.

McMillan tells me she hopes to get the parks off the list in time for the auction.