Fracking safeguards wise idea in Kent

suggestions of citizens' unit deserve council consideration

Published:

Fracking, the shorthand

term for the hydraulic fracturing process utilized in oil and natural gas development, has prompted concerns about its impact on the environment, including potential hazards to the health and safety of those who live near drilling sites. While drilling is generally associated with more rural locales, it also can occur in urban areas.

Concerned Citizens Ohio/Kent has raised questions about safeguards -- or the lack of them -- if fracking comes to Kent. The concerns expressed by the citizens' group are legitimate ones that deserve to be addressed by city officials.

The Kent Sustainability Commission, a city body, has recommended that the city set bonding requirements for use of roads by the heavy equipment associated with fracking, establish background levels for the city water supply and monitor Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports on fracking activities within the city. Those are sensible recommendations that ought to be enacted by Kent City Council.

Concerned Citizens Ohio/Kent is asking for additional regulations, modeled on safeguards enacted by other cities. They include a ban on injection wells, which serve as underground waste chambers for the toxic byproducts of fracking; a ban on transportation of hazardous materials within city limits; a ban on seismic testing; and denying oil and gas leases for city-owned land. Those also seem like sensible recommendations, which deserve to be reviewed and considered by council.

While some might be content to assume that fracking will not come to Kent, there is no guarantee of that. A large tract of land on the city's west side, surrounded by residential neighborhoods, already has been targeted for conventional oil and gas drilling. There are other locations in the city that could be potential fracking locations. Seismic testing already is under way in the Kent vicinity.

Some public officials have attempted to sidestep the fracking controversy by saying that municipalities have no control over regulating oil and gas development. There is an element of truth in that, thanks to the state's decision to bypass local authorities and grant oversight of drilling to ODNR. But, as Concerned Citizens Ohio/Kent has reminded Kent officials, cities are not entirely powerless in regulating drilling.

Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer has urged her colleagues to "take a serious look" at the additional regulations suggested by Concerned Citizens. We hope they do.

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  • Ian, Nicely done.

  • "Dämn the laws, full speed ahead!" cried Captain Antifrack as he drove the Ship of Fools into the approaching wave of prosperity. "Whine on!" screamed the Master Goad, "we'll overpower the state and the feds with our whining!" The din rose deafening any who would speak of a Greek Revival. They had searched for a farmer or two to join their cause but found only one pathetic Farmer on Cuyahoga St whose boggled mind perplexed them. Then they remembered that the last farm in Kent had been taxed out business and was now a development. "Where are we going to find healthy food and water?" moaned the disheveled crew, having failed to find so much as a chicken, they having been long banned. "We don't have any healthy soil and they haven't even started fracking." And they remarked at how just the mere thought of fracking had already polluted their scarce mental resources rendering them completely useless. Then Captain Antifrack received a disconcerting report. The experts had sapped the Earthquake Bogey-man of its strength. "Who is going to scare them now?" lamented the crew. "Pee harder!" barked Antifrack. "We'll fill Kent Council's ears with enough liquid to frack a dozen wells!" he bellowed. And the crew, who were experts at doing that very thing, continued with redoubled vigor.

  • Paty, Been out fact gathering, Fact is there arent any facts to back up the gloom and doom these nuts purvey, none. If you feel I've missed something please post a link to the info. Remember there is a difference between documented fact and fiction.

  • Justa, You need to get out and learn for yourself...get your own hard facts....it is easy to quote or mis-quote anyone on either side of an issue..just remember to leave your blinders and bias in the car..

  • I was flipping the channels last night and stumbled across a very well-made documentary on fracking and Russia's financial interest in killing fracking/drilling in the U.S. This journalist asks to speak with fracking opponents, but they run from him. Why? If you are telling the truth, why wouldn't you want to use EVERY forum possible to get out the truth? It makes you wonder who is funding the opponents of fracking.....most assuredly there is Russian, Saudi and perhaps other big, foreign oil interests involved with these people. It is airing on AXS cable channel now as I just saw it last night(1/22/2013). Find out how the citizens in these towns mentioned in the hit piece "Gasland" really feel about the gas companies, in their own words and on camera. In this particular region, an old lady mentions that they always had gas in their water since she was a child, long before any gas wells went in. If this is the case, as a non-expert I would think that drilling to remove as much gas as possible will reduce the supply and pressure causing the gas to bubble up, thus improving water quality in this region? http://fracknation.com/ Check it out and see who is trying to play you for a sucker.

  • Wouldn't it be nice if rest of the citizens in the county could hear something about the city of Kent and not have to use the auto response which has been programmed into them over the years "hey, it's Kent. what do you expect". You would think that with having the university there they could find some city leaders which could show some sign higher learning. Possibly by exhibiting that they know the difference between fact and fiction. Why don't you just tell the bunch of Fracking idiots to leave you alone. Tell them unless they can bring in some hard facts and not just keep making unsubstantiated accusations regarding the use of technology that's been in use extensively around Ohio and other states since back in the 50's without incident, that you simply arent going to provide them a stage to stand on. Kent; the Tree City. Yep, look at all the nuts.