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Letter to the Editor

Red flags in oil offer

January 23, 2013 - Dear Editor,

Our neighborhood in Independence township was approached by a West Bay Exploration oil company representative the same day that we received oil lease paperwork in the mail. Our property is located in the area that they want to extract oil from in Independence Township. We were surprised to see a West Bay Exploration representative at our door before we had a chance to even read the agreement.

The representative was a notary and was requesting that we sign the paperwork while he was there. Red flags immediately went up. We declined to sign the lease because we hadn't had a chance to read the agreement, nor research this topic. After doing a few minutes of research, we're glad we didn't sign the lease.

We discovered that West Bay Exploration has offered Independence township 1/6 in royalties for the rights to gas/oil under township property (Bay Court). While West Bay's offer to private property owners in the same area is 1/8 in royalties for the rights to the very same oil field ("Black gold in Bay Court," Dec. 26).

The public has been told that a select few private properties in the township will be hosting the diagonally drilled well heads, none of which are on township property.

Yet the township is being offered a much better deal on the same oil than private property owners ("Resident enthusiastic about oil gas potential," Jan. 2). Independence Township residents who have received these oil leases need to research the difference in royalties you are being offered before signing these leases.

The oil in the ground under your property should not be worth less than the oil in the same oil field that is under township property.

We recommend that oil leases not be signed until you are offered the same 1/6 share that is being offered to the township. If you agree, send West Bay a letter in the prepaid envelope they provided with your lease agreement demanding an equal share price for the same oil.

The knowledge that the value of the oil under your property is not being treated equally and once this oil is taken it can never be replaced should be reason enough to refuse to sign these oil lease offers.

Michael and Lori Powell

Independence Township

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