Concerned Citizens Ohio/Kent, an organization of Kent residents opposed to oil and natural gas development in the city, voiced several recommendations for measures to prevent potential issues of urban drilling to Kent City Council Wednesday.
After the group appealed to Kent council about nine months ago, council directed the Kent Sustainability Commission to study the issue and make recommendations.
The commission made recommendations to council last month, including the establishment of background levels for the city water supply, negotiating bonding requirements for road use and monitoring Ohio Department of Natural Resource reports on a weekly basis.
"We come before you tonight to enlarge the recommendations you have already received," resident Paulette Thurman said.
The group's numerous recommendations included examples that some Ohio municipalities and townships have already instituted, such as Cincinnati's ban on injections wells and Garrettsville's banning of seismic testing to protect infrastructure. Recommendations also included banning the transport of certain hazardous materials in city limits and denying oil and gas leases for city-owned land, among others.
"We must all listen carefully to each other and work together, citizens and city council, to anticipate the worst outcomes from urban drilling, and prepare the best protections possible for Kent," resident Erin LaBelle said.
Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer commended the group for its research.
"I think it's really important to take a serious look at these recommendations," Shaffer said.
"I hope they come again when we talk about the recommendations from the sustainability committee."
The recommendations from the sustainability group are not yet on council's agenda for discussion.
In other business, Kent's administration was directed by council to study the feasibility of building a new police department building on the city-owned Mogadore Road strip of land, formerly the site of RB&W.
"It'd be a very wise move to look into the future for the new police station there, since we would not be displacing anybody and we own it, so we would not have to buy the real estate," Ward 4 Councilman John Kuhar said when recommending the study.
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One Kent resident says that "We must all listen carefully to each other and work together, citizens and city council, to anticipate the worst outcomes from urban drilling, and prepare the best protections possible for Kent." Why should we anticipate the worst when we can plan for the best? This planet has wonderful resources that help us to live better lives. We should plan on using them efficiently, while also protecting the environment and our current investments (water wells, etc). But for a group to look for ways to block the development and use of natural resources, looks really short sighted to me. This 'fear based' attitude would have stopped electricity from being developed when Thomas Edison first started to promote it for community lights. Open your eyes fellow citizens, and look for the best, not just the worst.