Tag Archives | Aubrey McClendon

Saugatuck Dunes gets a temporary reprieve from developer Aubrey McClendon & his Singapore Dunes development company

Saugatuck Township on the shore of Lake Michigan has been battling against developer and natural gas tycoon Aubrey McClendon for several years to prevent the development of sensitive dune land in the community. They were subject to countless lawsuits, essentially draining the Township coffers until, last summer, they finally capitulated and came to an “agreement” with McClendon’s group, Singapore Dunes.

Well, they didn’t win. They capitulated. This is what “compromise” looks like in Michigan right now:
  • Development in 12 of the 32 acres on the site.
  • Up to 100 units to be built on the shoreline property
  • A 66-slip marina
  • A 25-suite inn
  • A nine-hole golf course

Needless to say, those folks who have been fighting tooth and nail to prevent this devastating outcome are none too happy.

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Zoning by consent decree – is Saugatuck Dunes the first domino?

I’m reprinting a guest column titled “Dunes Decision Troubling for All”, first published at The Bridge. In this piece, Alison Swan describes how Aubrey McClendon and his development company circumvented the normal legislative process and took his fight to develop the sensitive, rare and, of course, beautiful Saugatuck Dunes directly to the courts. Here, with his deep pockets and bloated back account, he could simply outspend the local municipality to eventually prevail.

The most disheartening thing about these types of fights is that the developer only has to win once but the local village, city or township must keep fighting developers endlessly and win every battle.…

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Losing our voice in how our communities are developed

In March of 2008, Governor Jennifer Granholm signed into law legislation called the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (Michigan Public Act 33 of 2008.) This new law replaced three separate laws governing planning for municipalities, townships and counties, bringing their separate provisions into one unified law. Among other things, PA 33 changed how counties must set up their Planning Commissions, requiring that they be created by and ordinance rather than by resolution as required by the original 1945 law. Counties are not required to have an Planning Commission but, if they do, PA 33 has specific directives regarding the number of members, how frequently they must meet and their responsibilities regarding the formation of county-wide Master Plans for development.…

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Michigan shoreline communities take two more devastating hits

The Lake Michigan shoreline area of Allegan County was dealt a double-whammy this week.

First, Saugatuck Township’s battle against developer Aubrey McClendon to prevent him from building a luxury resort and marina development in the heart of the Sauguatuck Dunes was lost when the Township compromised with him. I have written in the past about this HERE and HERE. From one of those posts:

Aubrey McClendon appears to have powerful, mostly Republican friends. He is supported by the right-wing think tank, The Mackinac Center. Allegan County Clerk Joyce Watts and her Deputy Clerk Julia Ryan are helping him. He’s got Congessman Fred Upton in his corner.…
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Is Allegan County, Michigan about to eliminate its Planning Commission? And why?

There’s a developing story in Allegan County, home of the Saugatuck Dunes that I have been writing about. A Michigan law passed in 2008 called the Michigan Planning Enabling Act PA 33 of 2008 (discussed at length HERE [pdf]) requires county Planning Commissions to be created by Ordinance rather than by a Resolution and this must be done by July 1, 2011. Additionally, it requires Planning Commissions to have a Master Plan. It is also giving counties the option of doing away Planning Commissions entirely (and, thereby, their Master Plan.)

Based on minutes from various commissions in Allegan County, it is clear that there is an interest on the part of the County Administrator, Rob Sarro, and others to do away with the Planning Commission entirely.…

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Saugatuck Dunes threatened by a web of Republican influence in Michigan

Last week, I wrote about the connection between Congressman Fred Upton, the Emergency Financial Manager takeover of Benton Harbor and Aubrey McClendon, a millionaire developer and owner of the Chesapeake Oil natural gas company. In the piece, I talked a bit about McClendon’s lawsuits against Saugatuck Township in their efforts to prevent McClendon from developing a piece of duneland at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River known as the Dennison property. I also said this: “After McClendon purchased a large tract of duneland there, the Township rezoned the area making it impossible for him to develop it into a condo/recreation mecca similar to Harbor Shores.”

This was incorrect.…

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Fracking millionaire claims “There’s no such thing as clean coal” 2 weeks before his natural gas disaster

Last week, I wrote about a millionaire natural gas tycoon named Aubrey McClendon and his ties to Michigan. I also wrote about the man-made disaster his company Chesapeake Oil has created in Pennsylvania when one of their natural gas wells blew up and spewed thousands of gallons of chemical soup into the surrounding land an into a creek that leads into the Susquehanna River and out into Chesapeake Bay.

Funny thing is, less than two weeks before his fracking oil well blew up, McClendon was interviewed and said there has been no “lasting environmental damage” from fracking and “there is no such thing as clean coal

Issues of water contamination in Northeast Pennsylvania are due to the region’s geology, and they have not – and likely will not – be seen elsewhere, the chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp.…
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Wait, you can have NATURAL gas spills? You can when Aubrey McClendon is running things.

I’ve heard of onshore and offshore gas and oil spills but never before have I heard heard of a blowout at a natural gas facility. But yesterday in Pennsylvania, that’s exactly what happened (and is still happening):

A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water on Wednesday, contaminating a stream and forcing the evacuation of seven families who live nearby as crews struggled to stop the gusher.

The Chesapeake Energy Corporation lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water continued to flow Wednesday afternoon, though workers finally managed to prevent any more of it from reaching the stream.

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The connection between Michigan’s EFM power grab, Rep. Fred Upton and Big Oil/Gas

Based on some tips from folks who have contacted me about my blogging the Big Government TakeoverTM of Benton Harbor by Rick Snyder’s Emergency Financial Manager, Joseph Harris, I’ve been doing some digging into the development known as Harbor Shores. I have found an amazingly tangled web that involves a number of very powerful, very wealthy men.

In the process of developing the Harbor Shores Golf Course/McMansion residential complex which opened last summer, part of a park in Benton Harbor called the Jean Klock park was leased to the developers. The process by which that happened appears to have been very shady.…

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