The first horizontal drilling permit issued in Poland Township is for a site 1,500 feet from Poland Township Park.
The permit was issued last week by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to Hilcorp Energy Corp. for a site near Cowden Road, off a closed former county road. The land is part of the Carbon Limestone Landfill operated by Republic Services.
The park land is not part of the permitted area; however, under drilling regulations in Ohio, Hilcorp could drill to within 100 feet of the park’s property line. Local environmental groups are worried about a drilling rig located near the youth sports fields at the park.
The biggest immediate concern relates to the air pollution that will be generated from the industrial process of oil and gas production, said Susie Beiersdorfer, geologist and member of Frackfree Mahoning Valley.
“Beyond that there’s the concern that because of the Valley, volatile chemicals tend to stay in those areas,” she said.
In addition, because the drill site also is a landfill, there is a chance the drilling shavings and mud will be disposed of right on site, Beiersdorfer said. There also is concern Hilcorp will add an injection well near the site or whether the company would ship brine to another well within the area.
“Drilling near the park will lead to a lot more trucks and traffic around the park as well,” she said.
The township knew there was going to be a drilling permit issued for the site, but did not know when the permit might be issued, said Mark Naples, township trustee.
“We didn’t really have any choice about the location,” he said. “We’re going to check in on it, and the landfill will keep a close eye on the site. Hopefully they’ll be able to catch it if something goes wrong and they’ll let us know immediately.”
The project will be done as safely as possible, Naples said.
The township’s main concern is that the site not create a situation that puts local firefighters or police in danger, he said.
This is the 15th drilling permit issued in Mahoning County.
ODNR also issued another drilling permit to a Valley location last week. It was issued to Chesapeake Exploration for a site in Salem Township in Columbiana County. The site is located off McCracken Road between Gromley and Teegarden roads.
ODNR has issued 59 drilling permits in Columbiana County.
ODNR also announced drilling has started on a well in Elk Run Township in Columbiana County owned by Chesapeake Exploration.
The site is between Elkton and Cream Ridge roads between 1,000 feet and 2,000 feet west of the Beaver Creek State Forest.