News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 7, 2013

Zoning Board OK’s far northside drilling

Michigan company exploring near Terre Town neighborhood

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A Traverse City, Mich.-based energy company Wednesday was given a green light to drill for oil and natural gas in the 4200 block of North 13th Street in Terre Haute.

The city’s Board of Zoning Appeals voted 5-0 to allow Adler Energy to drill, after reviewing site plans for fencing, landscaping and routes for trucks to enter and exit the 3.28-acre property.

A review from Vigo County’s Area Planning Department recommended approval of drilling, as land  near the site has been used for extractive/mining operations in the past and should not have a negative effect on neighboring land uses.

Adler Energy must next receive final state approval before drilling.

The site is near homes at the intersection of Boston Avenue and North 13th Street, north of Fort Harrison Ave.

Lou Britton, attorney for Adler Energy, presented the zoning appeals board with a market study of residential home sales from Conley Real Estate Appraisals, which looked at home sales within 1 mile of the 20 most recently permitted wells in Vigo County.

In one example, Conley reviewed home sales near the existing “Springhill Field,” which has four oil wells in Honey Creek Township. Conley reviewed 44 sales of land before the wells were established and 52 home sales after. The study concluded home values were unaffected by the oil field.

In addition, Conley noted that homes in Stratford Hills subdivision continue to sell, and as a appraiser, he has never made an adjustment to the appraisal of homes there because of the odor of oil wells. Homes along Margaret Avenue and Fruitridge Avenue also continue to sell within 1 mile of existing oil wells, he said.

Jordan Miller, president of Adler Energy, said the company plans to drill to about 1,600 feet deep. The company has an existing oil field in Clay County about 11⁄2 mile south of Brazil. That well began operations in October 2010. The company sells the oil to CountryMark, which refines the oil into fuel.

If oil is found, the production site would contain up to nine holding tanks, a sulfa treatment plant and have contained combustion, Britton said. “This well will not have an open flare into the atmosphere. The gases will be burned off, but will be burned off in a containment structure so they are not visible,” Britton said.

If electrical power to the site fails, valves at the well would close, shutting down the site. In addition, a vacuum vapor recovery system would be used to ensure that no vapors escape storage tanks, which will be surrounded by a steel double wall that can retain 11⁄2 times the amount of oil kept in the tanks.

The entire site will be surrounded by a 6-foot chain-link fence with slats that will obscure visibility. In addition, trees will be planted along part of the site.

Adler Energy is the third site to receive approval for oil and natural gas drilling within the city limits of Terre Haute this year.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.