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MetroParks board tries to ease fracking fears

Published: 10/12/11 @ 12:00

MetroParks board tries to ease fracking fears

By Elise Franco



Rumors about potential fracking for oil and gas in Mill Creek MetroParks took board members by surprise and had residents looking for an explanation.

Nearly two dozen residents and park patrons attended Tuesday night’s MetroParks board of commissioners’ meeting to discuss what they said is a controversial and unsafe process.

Jay Macejko, a park board member and Youngstown city prosecutor, said he doesn’t know how the rumor originated, but the board was prepared Tuesday to ease residents’ worries that a decision about fracking already had been made.

Macejko read a statement before opening the meeting to public comment, saying the board understands the concerns residents have with the prospect of drilling in the park.

He said though there is no fracking, several companies currently have wells on MetroParks land that date back 20 years.

“We are currently researching the contracts we have with those companies, trying to understand exactly how they are structured,” he said. “We need to become more familiar with what previous boards have contracted for and the history of the wells that are already here.”

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a process where water and chemicals are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

The chemicals used in the process are believed by critics to cause water contamination and air-quality issues, and the process has been linked by the U.S. Geological Survey to seismic activity in the U.S., Japan and Canada..

In Ohio and Pennsyl- vania, companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. have begun drilling for natural oil and gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Macejko said the board is in touch with other Ohio park systems struggling with the same drilling situation.

He asked that residents and board members remember the MetroParks’ mission, which includes being environmentally sound, adaptable and economically responsible.

“We are committed to upholding our mission, in words and in action,” he said.

Tim Raridon of Youngs-town was among about a dozen people who spoke to the board against fracking in the MetroParks.

“There’s an emotion out there, and it’s called greed,” he said. “We need to examine the science on both sides, and take great attention to that science and not just the greed.”

Raridon said he thinks residents will hold the board accountable for any incidents that stem from fracking, should it happen in the park.

“If the park board doesn’t do everything possible to prevent fracking here, when something goes wrong everyone will know who to come to for responsibility,” he said.

Chris Khumprakob of Youngstown said she moved from a home in Boardman in the 1990s because a previous board allowed drilling near her park-bordering backyard without discussion from community members.

Khumprakob, who lives in a home in Youngstown that borders the park, said she hopes this board won’t do the same.

“This is our park, paid for by the taxpayers, so we should have a say in what goes on here,” she said. “I ask the board to be open with the public and consider our views. ... Drilling will bring more money, but at what cost?”

Macejko said he’s glad so many folks expressed their views with the board and assured them this wouldn’t be the last public conversation about fracking.

“This process will be very important because we know there are many viewpoints on this issue and that it has the potential to affect so many,” he said. “As stewards of the legacy of Volney Rogers, we support his vision of ‘pure air, bright sunshine and grateful shade for daily rest and recreation open to all.’”


Posted by LoveWins (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 12:59 a.m.

Fracking would cause Volney Rogers to roll around in his grave-literally, due to the recent seismic activity that's probably related to local fracking. (This is an attempt at humor, har har har).

Posted by Stan (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 6:04 a.m.

"He said though there is no fracking, several companies currently have wells on MetroParks land that date back 20 years."

I hate to burst the bubble surrounding this controversy but those wells done twenty years ago were fracked . Fracking is normal procedure for oil and gas extraction .

Posted by lee (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 6:40 a.m.


Posted by Freeatlast (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 7:39 a.m.

Like that

Posted by howardinyoungstown (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 8:05 a.m.

@Stan those wells dug twenty years ago are vertical wells, there have been very few problems related to fracking vertical wells.

The controversy started when the new technique of horizontal drilling was combined with fracking and the number of problems increased dramatically.

Google the movies "Gasland" and "Split Estate" (both are available from Netflix) for more information about the dangers of fracking.

Posted by Attis (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.

Guess from where these fracking corporations are gonna get the millions of gallons of water needed for their rape of mother earth. Occupy Metro Parks anyone?

Posted by Stan (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.

Mother Earth is being raped everyday to supply the steel for our needs . A borehole for oil and gas gas exposes much less earth .

Posted by walter_sobchak (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 12:32 p.m.


Couldn't agree with you more! This technology could put many people to work in this area, fulfilling our domestic energy needs and employment issues. I wonder why the Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer doesn't sell the treated effluent water to the drillers, though. Maybe they could then lower the sewer rates! (HA HA!)

Posted by LoveWins (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 1:14 p.m.

Oh no, blasting hundreds of gallons of WASTEWATER into our aquifers isn't dangerous at all. Open your eyes!


Posted by walter_sobchak (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.

You obviously have no clue what you are talking about. Effluent is used all over the country for irrigation and other non-potable uses. WASTEWATER is the product that goes down your drain and is treated.

Posted by LoveWins (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 2:38 p.m.

"The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle."

"'In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we're trying for cleaner air, but we're producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it's not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste,' said John Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources."

Yeah, just like the stuff that goes down our drains and is treated.

Posted by Bigben (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 3:52 p.m.

The corporations care nothing for the peons.It has always been this way.

If there is a safer way to get less than that is the way in my opinion. But when greed talks honesty walks.

The globalists want to be less dependent on coal and move to more gas citing coal as dirty.But it is OK to ruin drinking water and burn coal in China?What a joke.

Posted by Bigben (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 3:55 p.m.

I Agree, DRILL BABY DRILL, who gives a frack. -- You if you had to drink bad water.

Posted by Stan (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 4:57 p.m.

After a cold winter and a gas shortage along with much higher prices reasoning will prevail .


Ready Bed Inflatable Sleeping Bag


Posted by Bigben (anonymous) on October 12, 2011 at 6:40 p.m.

Gas shortage? Will that be like the oil shortage ?LOL
Ah the magic of Wall street.