Court affirms rejection of gas wells near forest

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VANDERBILT, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan appeals court has affirmed a decision to reject permits for gas drilling on private land surrounded by state forest in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The court says state restrictions apply, even if the land in Otsego County is privately owned. One of the well sites was turned down by regulators because the site is too close to the Pigeon River.

The 11 proposed wells are at Song of the Morning Ranch, an 806-acre parcel within the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

State regulators say horizontal drilling might be a feasible alternative, but the applicants say it's too risky and expensive.

The appeals court decision was released Wednesday.

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