Oakland County Judge Dismisses Gas & Oil Case Against Rochester Hills

Claims Made Against City without Merit

The Oakland County Circuit Court today dismissed a lawsuit filed by Don’t Drill the Hills, Inc. against the City of Rochester Hills and others.

According to a press release the lawsuit alleged that the City unlawfully entered into an oil and gas lease with Jordan Development Company. Among other things, it claimed the lease violated the City Charter and that the issue should have been placed on a ballot.

The lease in question covers the subsurface oil rights under Nowicki and Tienken Parks and the Stony Creek Cemetery. The City included several conditions in its oil lease with Jordan, specifically, placing a ban on fracking, as well as prohibiting Jordan’s entry onto the premises.

The Court ruling rejected the claims made against the City, finding them without merit. Specifically, the Court decided the oil and gas lease absolutely complies with both state law and the city charter. Noting the oil and gas lease prohibits the oil company from entering or constructing any equipment on park land, the Court reasoned, “The lease is specifically tailored to prevent any disruption or interference with park features or the use of the park as a park. These lease restrictions ensure compliance with the City Charter.”

After learning the Court vindicated the City’s due diligence, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett was hopeful that all parties could move on for the City’s betterment.

“We are obviously very pleased with the court’s ruling. I understand there were passionate arguments on both sides of this issue,” stated Barnett.

“Now that it has been resolved by the court, it is time to work together. State law largely controls oil drilling, leaving municipalities with little say. We must recognize the limits of governing law while working to change it.”

Established in 1984, the City of Rochester Hills is a prosperous community offering residents and businesses superior services. Voted as one of the top 10 places to live by Money Magazine in 2014 and by RelocateAmerica.com, Rochester Hills is committed to sustaining its position among the nation’s preeminent places to live, work and raise a family. Through the city’s focus on health, education and technology, the community continues to attract forward-thinking families and businesses.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.


  1. Sarah – is this the Don’t Drills press release? Confused. It has their logo instead of the City’s….

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