Meeting will address quakes, injection wells

Staff report


A group of concerned Youngstown-area residents and panelists will conduct a public town-hall-style informational meeting Thursday to discuss and answer audience questions about the recent magnitude-4.0 Youngstown-area earthquake, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) associated with shale-gas drilling and brine injection wells.

The meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown, Channing Hall, 1105 Elm St. (Elm and Illinois Avenue).

Youngstown State University geology professor Ray Beiersdorfer; state Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th; Liberty Township Trustee Jodi Stoyak and a citizen affected by water contamination are panel members.

Geologist Susie Beiersdorfer will moderate the meeting.

Susie Beiersdorfer previously has discussed the connection between Youngstown earthquakes and the nearby injection well. She has said the brine toxic waste injected into the well reactivated an ancient fault by acting as a lubricant and reducing friction between layers of the shale, thereby causing earthquakes, meeting organizers said.

The situation in the Youngstown area has attracted extensive national and local media attention.

The Dec. 31, 2011, earthquake shook Youngstown and reportedly was felt in several states and as far away as Ontario, Canada.

The earthquake may have awakened many more citizens to the serious health and safety issues reported by those living near fracking and injection wells and to reports of drinking-water source contamination, meeting organizers said.

Issues to be addressed at the town-hall meeting include: the scientific information linking the Youngstown earthquakes and the toxic brine injection well; the evidence showing that the Youngstown earthquake was man-made; whether there will be more earthquakes; and how the lack of local control affects infrastructure, property values and emergency safeguards.

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