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Citizens unit takes fracking fight to commissioners

By Mike sever | staff writer Published: January 31, 2013 4:00 AM

Members from the local group of Concerned Citizens Ohio are asking Portage County commissioners to work to lessen the impact of hydraulic fracturing on residents.

"We're here to help you," said Mary Greer, one of about 14 people who attended Tuesday's session. "We're not saying shut down the wells or defy state law -- we know you can't do that."

Greer said commissioners should anticipate the worst possible outcomes from horizontal hydraulic fracture drilling and its waste products, and work with others to prevent those outcomes.

The group presented a similar list of recommendations to Kent City Council earlier this month. Among them are examples of action taken by other Ohio municipalities and townships to block or control fracking.

Others of the group addressed commissioners Kathleen Chandler and Maureen T. Frederick on issues from injection wells and air quality to noise from drilling and the potential loss of hearing. Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio was absent from the session.

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Gwen Fischer of Hiram Township, said she was concerned about the industrialization of the rural countryside when miles of pipelines are put in to connect natural gas wells.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has approved permits for 14 horizontal gas wells in Portage County. Four permits are for sites in southern Nelson while there are two permits each in Freedom, Palmyra, Suffield and Windham townships. There are single permits in Hiram and Rootstown townships. The first well in the county, drilled in western Suffield, has been plugged. A second well at the same site is producing natural gas.

The concerned citizens group has been working to educated residents and inform them of the potential ill effects to physical health and property from the new industry.

Fischer pointed out that thousands of gallons of wastewater from Pennsylvania and other parts of Ohio are coming in to Portage for disposal.

Jean Cebulla of Hiram Township said commissioners can protect citizens by promoting "green" energy and by appointing concerned residents to committees to look for solutions.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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anonymous Jan 31, 2013 1:01 PM

I hope the city of Ravenna is doing monthly testing of the water at Lake Hodgson, to make sure those chemicals don't end up in the drinking water.

anonymous Jan 31, 2013 12:15 PM

When unhealthy amounts of pollutants end up in your well I think you would be concerned too. There are no regulations and I am glad that someone cares.

anonymous Jan 31, 2013 10:51 AM

They have issues with air quality, noise and potential loss of hearing? So when are they proposing to close I-76 and I-80?

They keep carping about the thousands of gallons of wastewater from Pennsylvania and other parts of Ohio coming in to Portage for disposal. Since this is a Commerce Clause issue, perhaps they start working on an amendment to the constitution to eliminate that clause.

I wonder how they got to the meeting. Did they drive using those petroleum products that are the cause of all the greed in the universe? Maybe they should boycott all products based on gas and petroleum. When all of the world falls in line behind them, problem solved!

anonymous Jan 31, 2013 6:27 AM

Meanwhile our neighboring county to the south does all it can to stimulate growth. See this article in today's Alliance Review: "Stark County partnering to lure more oil and gas work", which says Carroll County has seen a 25% increase in sales tax revenue in just the past year. Five years ago we thought we might have to start importing natural gas; now we know we are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We will have $1 billion more invested by oil and gas industries in Ohio by 2015, and there will be tens of thousands of jobs created in the state if the liberal Democrats get out of the way.

anonymous Jan 31, 2013 6:07 AM

Pathetic Luddite anti-jobs propaganda from the liberals. The same anti-growth Democrat agenda that caused the national economy to contract last quarter. Use what "green energy" in place of natural gas? And "loss of hearing" -- are you serious?