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D&L rails at Hagan, mayor



Published: Fri, January 6, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

2 officials’ comments described as ‘cynical’

photo

Hagan

photo

Sammarone

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The company that operated a shut-down brine-injection well sharply criticized state Rep. Robert F. Hagan and Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone for statements they made to The Vindicator about a study the company will fund near and around the well.

In a statement Thursday to the newspaper, D&L Energy Group said it was “disappointed with the cynical comments” made by the two.

D&L is paying for an independent entity to conduct a geology examination in and around the injection well on Ohio Works Drive.

Results would be reviewed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which would determine whether the well could resume operations.

Eleven earthquakes were centered close to the well in the past 10 months.

Sammarone said people would be more comfortable with an independent study rather than one that could be perceived as being influenced by D&L.

“This is not only unfair, it is unseemly behavior for public officials charged with enforcing responsible public policy,” D&L wrote in the prepared statement.

Hagan said D&L is “the one being unseemly. They’re the ones causing negative feelings in our community. I’m shocked they’d even comment on this. They’re so culpable that you can smell the stink they’re injecting all the way to Columbus.”

Last Friday, D&L agreed to an ODNR request to cease operations at that well.

After the Saturday earthquake, the largest of the 11 with a magnitude 4.0, the state imposed a moratorium ordering D&L to keep four inactive wells, within a five-mile radius of the Ohio Works well, closed indefinitely.

Hagan, Sammarone and city council’s public utilities committee will have a public meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Covelli Centre community room to talk about the injection well and earthquakes. Officials from ODNR, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Ohio Geological Survey, the federal EPA and U.S. Geological Survey are invited to attend.

The company wrote in Thursday’s statement that the study possibly could exceed $1 million.

“Someone must pay the costs,” the company wrote. “D&L is willing to do so and is attacked for being responsible.”

Sammarone said he was surprised about the potential expense.

“That’s a lot of money to do a study,” Sammarone said. “I’m in the wrong business. I should do studies of wells and make $1 million.”

Sammarone stood by his earlier comments to The Vindicator that “the perception is always better if you have an independent study” done rather than have the company handpick who will conduct it.

“Based on my experience, the public prefers independent studies,” Sammarone said. “It’s up to the state to decide. If they have no problem with it, then I have no problem with it.”

Hagan was more blunt in saying he wouldn’t trust the results of a study “bought and paid for by D&L.”

The company said Hagan and Sammarone are “contributing to an unproductive atmosphere of speculation and negativity.”

In Thursday’s statement, D&L wrote: “To attack a solution without offering a legitimate alternative would indicate these officials are acting against the company in a personal fashion. They seem less concerned with finding answers about why our area has experienced earthquakes, and would rather see D&L shut down as a sacrifice to political expediency.”

Andy Ware, an ODNR spokesman, told the newspaper Wednesday that the agency doesn’t “believe for certain there is a direct causation” between the well and the earthquakes.

“But, at this point, there has to be a pretty high bar of information provided to move forward with allowing injections at those sites,” Ware said.

D&L and ODNR officials met privately Wednesday and agreed the company would conduct the study. ODNR would examine the study, but “it’s going to have to meet a high standard for our review,” Ware said.

The Ohio Works well injects brine, a byproduct of fracking, about 9,300 feet into the ground. D&L isn’t fracking at the location.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet underground to extract natural gas and oil. Injection wells are the opposite — it uses the fluid left over from fracking and injects it deep into the ground for disposal.


Comments

1Southside_Res(165 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

This is the braggadocio of a typical Big Business mentality. D&L has a history of more than 120 violations over the last ten years at more than 32 similar wells. Those of us who live in Youngstown don't need a study to learn the source of these earthquakes. They came from D&L's waste sites! Please get real! This company needs to be put out on their ear. Hagan is right. Sammarone is right. Congressman Ryan is right. Now, D&L wants to create more ill will by attempting character assassinations on our local politicians?! Seriously! There is something truly wrong with this picture. They need to be driven out of town. Let them destroy someone else's community.

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2WHATSSHAKIN(42 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Bob Hagan is best noted for his plugging of intersections for long periods of time with a train and has citations for proof. Long traffic tie-ups along with noxious diesel fumes did nothing to endear him to the motoring public. Charles Sammarone is best noted for being? Well, just Chuck. A Chuck and Bob night at the Lemon grove could be real entertainment.

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3UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

We don't need D&L in the valley. Take your business elsewhere fools.

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4glbtactivist(245 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Drive D&L out of town. Of course they aren't allowed in most communities already. To say nothing of the entire country of France.

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5Attis(855 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It is against the law to damage property, harm public safety and induce panic, let alone subject a whole community to continual threats of more harm and destruction, even death, for months to come because of sheer greed. All that has been going on in the Mahoning Valley since December 2010, the time D&L started their earthquake-causing injection of toxic waste at $4 per gallon for an average of 2,500 gallons per day. And they started and continued this dangerous operation without so much as having conducted a geologic survey of the earth they contaminated with their toxic refuse. And the state, which collected over a $1million in 2011 from these earthquake-causing injections, enabled all this damage without even so much as demanding a geologic survey or placement of seismographs on site. And the corporate elite was singing its praises at the YOUNG conference just a few weeks before the 4.0 quake hit. The real heroes in this are the seven protesters arrested in the wake of the propaganda conference. They should be charge of the study. But no study is needed. We know what and who caused the earthquake. What's missing is justice, not a study to cover-up the injustice.

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6johnyoung(238 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Youngstown officials and the state regulators are in a tough spot here. Any study conducted, regardless of the source, will likely only contain anecdotal evidence linking the recent seismic activity to the injection well. It will be virtually impossible to scientifically link the earthquake occurrences to operation of the injection wells. On that basis, how do you force a legally permitted business to cease operation?

Those geologists who have thus far opined such a link have offered nothing in the way of scientific evidence, only opinion. Regarding the efficacy of a study conducted by D&L, one of the basic tenets of any scientific study is peer review. Regardless of who conducts the study, its conclusions should be subject to review by other credentialed experts in the field.

The most objectionable aspect of this whole debacle is the actions and the reactions of the local politicians. On the local level, why was Youngstown so eager to entice such an environmentally sensitive enterprise to set up shop within the city with the assistance of free land and tax abatements? On the state level, Hagan, as a state legislator evidently did nothing proactively to anticipate some of the problems associated with the emerging gas and oil drilling industry. But now suddenly he has all the answers for the proper course of action. The state's permit process has very few teeth, and does not allow the state to order cessation of activities without a high standard of cause. They are lucky that D&L volunteered to temporarily cease operations.

The key to avoiding these types of situations in the future is to elect forward thinking individuals to public office who are truly interested in public service and protection of the citizens.

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7stewie(108 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Say what you want about Hagan, on this issue he's right! If D&l doesn't like it then take their business somewhere else!

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8HappyBob(285 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

It's obvious that a study needs to try to answer the question: Did the injection well stimulate seismic activity? Frankly, I think that ODNR should select and pay the investigators, then demand reimbursement from D & L Energy. Simply said, no rembursement, no further consideration of lifting a ban on the wells that are within the 5 mile radius.
One thing that should be learned from this incident is that the study should be done BEFORE the drilling occurs.

There are two more D & L Saltwater Injection wells here in the valley that are starting up that are not included in the current ban. One is next to the turnpike exit on Market street, the other is in Springfield where there is significant underground limestone mining. Geologic and seismic study of these areas prior to commencement of operations is imperative. ODNR should commission these studies and bill the applicant (D & L Energy) for the costs.

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9AtownAugie(697 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

The study that *needs* to be made is: "Which has harmed more people/property? Brine-injection or people/property trampled when between Hagan and a tv camera."

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10XL(18 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I propose a 25% hazmat fee on natural gas and motor fuels at the consumer level. We need to address the issue of safety in their use.

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11southbelle22(16 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

a little common sense goes a long way here. who do we trust - science or the company making money off of poisoning us and destroying our homes. what d&l (and many other companies) is doing to us is criminal and they should not only be chased out of town, but brought up on charges. the fines are a tiny slap on the wrist compared to the big money they are raking in. only 300,000 for contaminating a river? put the fines in the 100's of millions and maybe then they will be more careful about what they are doing (all drillers.) right now, they are laughing all the way to the bank. why, MR. SKOLNICK, do you think it neccessary to give these criminals so much voice? people are already getting very sick from contaminated water right here in the valley. and this is just the start of the drilling? how much more are we supposed to take? TELL THE TRUTH!!!! maybe karl henkel can help you get your head out of your you know what. Skolnick's coverage of the city council meeting was filled with lies. fact check anyone?

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12Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

All I can say is what a sick joke. Scientists have already stated their opinions on the matter. Google it. Perhaps the corporation doesn't like what they had to say.As far as I am concerned hit the road D&L.

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13jfgiancola(153 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I woud be suspect of any study that a company funds for itself. An independent study is the best way to go as their conclusions are more likely to be based on fact rather than what the company wants publicized. I am in total agreement with Representative Hagen and Mayor Sammarone.

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14Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Representative Hagen and Mayor Sammarone for standing up to this giant.

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15farmforfun(15 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I agree, lets have a study funded by "tree huggers" instead. What kind of results would we expect.

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16oneagle(1 comment)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I think all that needs to be done is research fracking and injection that was done in the 60's in arkansas and oklahoma that caused earthquakes and as a side note why isen't Texas and Pa doing their own injecting Mr Hague and Mr Mayor why not find these out first

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17MichaelG93(79 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

HappyBob,

Great Comment. Great idea!

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18southsidedave(4777 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Of course, D&L wants to make its money...greed as usual!

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19hellokitty(161 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

And as usual, greed will prevail. The company purchased study will show without a doubt that there is no correlation between fracking / injection wells, and it will be supported by ODNR. Anybody really think otherwise?

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