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Valley officials want answers about seismic events



Published: Tue, January 10, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Marc Kovac

news@vindy.com

COLUMBUS

Mahoning County Commissioner Anthony Traficanti was sitting in his office in North Lima on New Year’s Eve when the earth shook.

“It was like a sonic boom,” he said. “I have lived in Ohio for 45 years, and that’s the first time this gentleman here ever felt an earthquake.”

On Monday, Traficanti was among the 40 or so state, county and local officials from Youngstown and surrounding areas who traveled to central Ohio to get answers about that and other seismic events that have shaken buildings and nerves since last March.

They wanted to know whether there was a definitive link between the tremors and an injection well in the vicinity, where waste fluids from oil and gas production were pumped deep underground before the state shut it down.

They also quizzed representatives of various divisions within the Ohio Department of Natural Resources about precautions the state is taking to minimize the possibility of future earthquakes and environmental calamity.

“We just want to deal with that and find out whether any more injection wells are put in our county,” Traficanti said.

The session lasted for more than two hours and included a tour of the Ohio Earthquake Information Center, the state-run facility that serves as the focal point for studying seismic activity.

Elected officials from the Youngstown area and Statehouse staffers were invited to participate by state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd. Other lawmakers who attended included state Reps. Ronald Gerberry of Austintown, D-59th; Sean O’Brien of Brookfield, D-65th; state Rep. Tom Letson of Warren, D-64th; and state Sen. Lou Gentile of Steubenville, D-30th. Reporters also were allowed to attend after initially being told the meeting would be closed.

The gathering included a presentation on the history of oil and gas drilling in Ohio, a review of permitting and other requirements for the disposal of waste fluids from wells, and a discussion of the New Year’s Eve earthquake centered in Youngstown and felt throughout Northeast Ohio.

Carlo Loparo, spokesman for the ODNR, said state officials will offer the same presentation at a public meeting at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the community Room of the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown.

In a related event, a Statehouse protest is set for this afternoon by opponents of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and injection wells.

Fracking is the process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

State officials said they were reviewing the data on more than 10 earthquakes that have occurred in Youngstown since last March, the largest of which occurred on New Year’s Eve.

Local lawmakers’ questions ranged from whether there should be increased public information about new production or injection wells to how the state handled inspection of current wells to ensure they are safe.

“We get notice when a liquor permit’s renewed,” said Youngstown Councilman Mike Ray, D-4th. “The city has the right to comment as a legislative body. It really seems like we have more input when it comes to liquor permits than permitting wells in the area.”

Schiavoni added, “I don’t want to stop all drilling and exploring throughout the state. I don’t think that’s something that we should do. But when you have problems like this, you have to address them. We have to work proactively to ensure that this doesn’t happen anymore.”

State officials said it’s possible recent quakes and the injection well are linked, but they said a number of factors would have to be in place for that to be the case.

There would have to be a current underground fault, under stress and near failure already, said Larry Wickstrom, state geologist and head of the ODNR’s Division of Geological Survey.

ODNR officials are reviewing the data to make a definitive determination.

In a related topic, Schiavoni and Gentile issued a statement after the tour calling for increased state funding for earthquake monitoring. More than $1 million was cut from those activities as part of the state budget process, they said.


Comments

1cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

My whole house was Shaking. If this Continues Because No one Is going to stop all This Drilling and frackling I'm moving out of Ohio, I'm not Living like people in California Or China or all these other places that are threaten by man made destruction of our earth. The Last time I felt this in Ohio was 1985 It was Suppose to of been caused By freezing & thawing that yr . Destroy the earth Because thats what your doing day by day........................

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2webad(156 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Re the above comment

No one is going to stop it. Believe me. You have to put your warm bodies, in great numbers, onto the streets ... cause a big commotion and a disruption. You have to capture media attention and the attention of the people who want your votes. Sitting around and complaining will never yield the desired result. Never ever ever.

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3juanita1944(34 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

are all the people in office ..stupid???????????i am paying mine insurance on my house insurance every year ...why? cause we still have unfilled mines in the parkwood area in girard......does that tell you something? why can't you come out and check.......? are you afraid of finding we are on a fault also? god people give me a break..........check what i'm saying....i lived in this area for 67 years.....i'm not senile........if i lose my house to a quake are you going to take me in? i'm not going to a shelter.....wait maybe i'll die in the next big one........is my life so unimportant that you would take it for the well to keep working? come on get serious.......think of the people that vote and live in this region..........come on give us a break.......yes there will be jobs but at what price?if it happens i'm dead and gone and so are our families and children.......nudge.. you can't get votes from dead people......quit sitting on your hands........sigh......

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4Silence_Dogood(1341 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"Reporters also were allowed to attend after initially being told the meeting would be closed."

Bob Hagan must not have been informed that the Reporters were invited at the last minute. How do I know this? Well, if Hagan would have known that there were going to be Reporters and cameras at this event you can be assured that he would have attended this event. Bob Hagan did not attend because he does not want to find out about the science involved with this topic, all he cares about is his tired old rhetoric.

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5Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

11 earth quakes and people want more injecting- unbelievable .Only in Hooterville.

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6Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Santa's elves were left by him over Christmas and they danced too much by the drill site.Lets have a study funded by Santa to see if this might have been the cause.

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7Joe306tow(49 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

LAWSUIT!! D&L Energy, the O.D.N.R., and Kasich, should be sued for their part in the quakes. If it is proven that the FRACKING caused the quakes.

Many homes outside of the Youngstown area sustained damage from the 4.0 quake. If the Fracking caused the quake, then D&L and all of those profiting from the drilling operations are responsible for said damages.

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

Jessidavid - -Interesting news but you shared this with us already in another post.

Now what is Kasich 's stance on injection wells and how many did he permit? Did he receive any funding from the company? I thought you were going to look into that for us.

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9Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Jessiedavid , Also I would like to know if you think D&L is responsible in any way?

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10Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Jessiedavid, Remember we have had the earthquakes since last March correct? That would have been under kasich 's watch.

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