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Poland residents urge caution on drilling



Published: Wed, February 8, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

POLAND

More than 65 people crowded into village hall Tuesday to discuss the potential leasing of village-owned lands, including Poland Municipal Forest, to oil- and natural-gas drilling companies.

A representative from Chesapeake Energy was scheduled to meet with council behind closed doors but did not show. Mayor Tim Sicafuse said if he had, the presentation would not have taken place in private.

“That does not warrant executive session,” Sicafuse said, adding that village government is “transparent.”

Council did not take any action Tuesday relating to the drilling.

The mayor and council heard from residents of the village and surrounding areas, many urging caution about leasing land to companies that plan to drill hydrofracking wells.

Fracking is a process in which a mix of water, sand and chemicals is blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to extract natural gas and oil. The brine waste product from that process then is disposed of in injection wells. Horizontal fracking is the process used to extract the natural resources from the Marcellus and Utica shales.

David Sabine, who lives in Poland Township near the entrance to the Indian Trail forest, said council should wait until the state completes its review of oil and natural-gas industry regulations. He said the risks of fracking include spillage and contaminated ground water and well water.

“Hold off until the state law has regulations to ensure protection,” he said. “When in doubt, it’s your duty to wait.”

Valerie Dearing, a member of the Poland Forest Foundation and organizer of the neighborhood group Sisters Against Subterranean Sludge (SASS), said when it comes to spillage, “a little goes a long way.”

She also pointed out that oil and gas companies often do not have to comply with federal standards. For example, injection wells are exempt from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. That exemption is commonly called the “Halliburton Loophole.”

Bob Lenga, Forest Foundation president, said the foundation recommends creating an ad hoc committee to study how drilling could affect the village from scientific, legal and financial perspectives.

Councilman Robert Limmer contended that leasing mineral rights in the 265-acre Poland Municipal Forest would violate the deed because the forest “is only to be used for park purposes.” Ralph Mentzer, a longtime village volunteer, added to that, saying the original deed requires the forest be preserved in a natural state.

The village already has been approached by Western Land Services and Sulmona Energy LLC. The mayor has said any potential lease would have to include a “laundry list” of protections, such as no surface wells or heavy trucks in the forest.


Comments

1Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Now they wish to destroy the forest in Poland? Really?

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2southbelle22(16 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

these residents and council members really have their act together on this issue. all rural townships in the area should be taking note and following their lead before it is too late. we must ban fracking now!

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3highpoint(35 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

So we ban fracking, and keep buying oil from ??? Well, this President told Canada, our biggest oil supplier, "NO PIPELINE!" So they can sell it to China. And Nebraska still pumps it out, but has to ship it by rail. Burlington Northern, by the way. Owned by Warren "tax the rich" Buffett. Wake up Ohio. This could be the greatest growth story in the country. There are rational ways to handle the problems, not the irrational like "Ban everything." Recycling fracking water see LAYN. Safer fracking fluids,Steri-Frac. Get the facts. We get Ohio Taxes and pay for our schools, better government, and a better life style. Frack ON!

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