The trustees voted 2 to 1 to table the resolution requesting its attorney look into the legality of controlling all types of gas drilling and injection wells.
Instead, the trustees Monday night voiced support for a regionwide lobbying effort to push state legislators into placing a moratorium on drilling until studies on its possible environmental effects are understood.
Trustee Jodi Stoyak, who championed the resolution, was the lone dissenting vote.
If the ban would have been approved at a future trustees’ meeting, it would be a direct challenge to state law that handed the Ohio Department of Natural Resources sole regulating authority over drilling.
“Our hands are tied,” said board chairman Stan Nudell.
The trustees and their attorney, Mark Finamore, spent hours before the meeting talking to officials from the state, Ohio Township Association and community lawyers, who suggested the board not pursue the resolution.
“What we were finding is that it’s not going to do us any good,” Nudell said.
He said the legal fees would have cost the township too much money.
Finamore suggested at the Trumbull County Association meeting, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 26, that trustees place a motion for a countywide request to state legislators on halting the drilling for further studies.
At least eight municipalities in Northeast Ohio have put in place rules controlling drilling on township land.
In July, Plain Township, a township just north of Canton in Stark County, banned horizontal drilling under township-owned land, including its roads. The resolution was created in hopes of deterring permits by limiting the reach of horizontal drilling on property bordered by township land, said Plain Township Trustee Lou Giavasis.
He said the resolution has helped ebb the number of drilling-permit applications. In the past six months, Giavasis said there has been a significant decrease in drilling-permit applications in the township.
Stoyak, who was disappointed by the tabling of the resolution, still encouraged those who attended the meeting to write their representatives.
“I don’t think people realize the power you all have just sitting and writing a letter,” she said.