The City of Southfield is embroiled in controversy over whether or not a church at Evergreen and 9-Mile Road should be allowed to lease its private property for oil exploration. The Word of Faith Church wants a permit from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality despite a city moratorium on drilling and fracking. A number of public meetings have already been held and this evening State officials have agreed to hold one. Adam Wygant is the supervisor of permits and technical services for the DEQ Office of Oil, Gas and Mineral permits. The DEQ isn’t required to hold a public hearing according to Wygant “But we (DEQ) do have a public meeting to receive comments when there is significant public interest. That’s exactly what we’ve seen with this meeting here. We were asked by the mayors office as well as representative Moss, as well as several citizens to hold a public meeting. Our intent is come an hear what the public has to say on this permit application”. Despite the local moratorium on drilling and fracking, Wygant says the State is not beholden to local ordinances “Our oil and gas regulations don’t allow for us to enforce local ordinances but we do understand clearly that the representative and City of Southfield are not in favor of the oil wells, so we’re more focused on why they were opposed to the oil well, much more than the fact that they have a moratorium in place”. Wygant says public requests and concerns have prompted the DEQ to hold a public meeting tonight (02/17) at 6pm at Southfield High School. The State has 50 days to review the permit request.