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Texas co. wants to lease mineral rights at Poland cemetery

Published: Sat, January 14, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.

RELATED: Brown:Kasich’s decision on wells was right

By Ashley Luthern



Township trustees received two unsolicited proposals related to oil- and natural-gas drilling, including one for a cemetery, and are having the township’s legal counsel review both.

John Phillip of Campbell Development LLC in Fort Worth, Texas, offered trustees a contract Wednesday to lease the mineral rights under 35 acres that make up the Lowellville Cemetery at 2700 Stewart Road.

Campbell Development, which opened a second location in Youngstown three months ago, works primarily with one drilling company that creates fracking wells. Phillip declined to name the drilling company.

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

The contract offers the township an upfront payment of $140,000 — or $4,000 per acre — and 16 percent of any royalties, which would be paid monthly, Phillip said.

Phillip said the contract is for the Utica Shale, thousands of feet underground, and includes the stipulation that there can be no surface drilling at the cemetery.

“We’ve leased under a cemetery before,” Phillip told trustees when asked.

Township Administrator Jim Scharville questioned whether the township even had the mineral rights for plots already purchased.

“I thought you own the entire plot. I’m just curious because if I had a family plot and someone else was getting mineral rights, I would expect something,” Scharville said, adding people are given deeds to the cemetery plots once they pay for them.

Trustee Chairman Mark Naples said the trustees don’t know the laws of such a circumstance, which is why they approved a resolution asking township Atty. David Shepherd to review the contract.

“Supposedly they’re not even planning on drilling. They want the acreage for their block,” Naples said. “I don’t particularly think that it’s something we should do. It’s a cemetery; it’s your last resting place.”

The Lowellville Cemetery was established in 1890 and serves as the township’s current cemetery. Poland Center Cemetery, 6578 Struthers Road, is 1.5 acres and was used from the early 1700s to late 1890s.

The trustees were surprised by the offer to lease the Lowellville Cemetery.

“We just got hit with this,” Naples said.

Leasing a cemetery is not unheard of. In September 2008, the Catholic Cemeteries Association in Western Pennsylvania signed a gas lease for 1,254 acres, including one 195-acre cemetery and a 200-acre cemetery in Pittsburgh, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Trustees also heard from Atty. Damian P. DeGenova, co-founder of Youngstown-based Sulmona Energy LLC, who addressed Poland Village Council a week ago.

He presented trustees with an agreement to let Sulmona Energy bargain on their behalf for leasing township-owned land. DeGenova said he would group township-owned property with other public and private land, ideally having a 10,000-acre package.


1yashure(18 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I believe this is the same Damian DeGenova, that sold out all the people of Poland 10 years ago with the Walgreen deal, when he was serving as solicitor!!!!!

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2mishmash(333 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Decisions can't be made, even with an administrator on the payroll. Ungaro better wake up fast to this, he was elected to straighten this mess out.

Mark Naples is like a clueless deer until he spews lies from his mouth.

Please notice that Poland doesn't even use the County Prosecutor to represent them. Gains and Naples' buddy Moderalli don't have the time to save Poland the $$$.

The roads did not get salted on time yesterday putting residents and school buses at risk for the first time in years.

Wake up Eric~!

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3lee(544 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

How is getting $140,000 plus 16% for the maintenance of the cemetery selling out the community?

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4Attis(1128 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

So much for R.I.P. Come to think of it, if these mother (earth) frackers and their political prostitutes are not stopped we may all soon R.I.P.

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5bookgirl(29 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago


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6Fishinsolitude(2 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I logged onto your local news, Vindy.com all the way from Oregon, after reading a story concerning "fracking earthquakes", only to see this on your front page. Some Texas corp wants the land of your Fathers, your Mothers and your Brothers and Sisters.
Corporations like this sit and wait till the town is ripe for the picking, then come in, even talking jobs, but all they want is to take.
They're already under your ground, and under your skin I expect, and now they want to do what to your cemetary?
I feel they already owe the city an apology.

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7lumper(301 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

check out lawsuits in the state of michigan over failure to pay on lease agreements.

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8paulydel(1598 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I don't like the idea of messing with a burial site. I gues we are going to have include mineral rites when we die now so we aren't bothered and can rest in peace.

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9fcar98(6 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Well for what it is worth Forest Lawn on Market Street in Boardman has 7 or 8 Wells already. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. My family has about 20 plots in Forest lawn so if they do have to pay the plot owners we should have something coming for the past 30 or so years they have had these wells. Good luck with the fight to stop this, you will need it. ODNR will find a way to allow it at any cost, they always do. It is unfortunate hopefully the 4.0 Earthquake was big enough to rattle some sense into them.

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10Ytownnative(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Nothing is sacred anymore except the almighty dollar

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11najjjj(106 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

The most disgusting development so far in this who fracking/waste well debacle yet. If this doesn't show you that nothing is sacred to these corporations except the dollar, I don't know what will.

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12mcree(22 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

So what's next? Outlawing underground burial because the cash strapped vilages, towns and cities need the money? I am all for businesses and jobs for the valley, but at what price. I am sure if we look back in history, that everytime there was profit to be gained from oil, gas, or other minerals, small towns were wiped out for a price. Sure, they got to move somewhere else, but the towns disappeared. There needs to be mandatory geological studies, paid for by the companies. But, it still disturbs me that hallowed ground is being desecrated to the highest bidder.

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13southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

If big business can't respect the deceased in a cemetery, the world is really coming to an end.

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14peacelover(838 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Ytownnative, you are absolutely right.

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15farmforfun(15 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

Drill baby Drill. The last I knew graves are only 6 ft. deep and the oil is over 9000 ft. deep. They won't drill in the cemetery so what is the danger. Do not confuse the facts. They have been drilling for oil and gas in Mahoning County since the 50's and most of these wells have been fracked using the same process as today. The village of Poland would be crazey not to take the money. Your right it is always about the money. But don't let scare tactics confuse the facts.

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16Bigben(1996 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

This is disgusting.

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17AnotherAverageCitizen(1193 comments)posted 4 years, 5 months ago

I think there is lots of land in Texas the TX Company could use.

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