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Youngstown council hears 30 of 32 voice opposition to oil, gas drilling

Published: Wed, October 17, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick



Despite hearing the pleas of 30 people not to approve legislation to permit oil and gas drilling on city-owned land, city council is expected today to support it.

Council had a public hearing Tuesday with 32 of the nearly 50 people in attendance speaking on the issue.

Only Tony Paglia, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber’s vice president of government and media affairs, and Mike Chadsey, director of Energy in Depth, a gas and oil industry outreach group, spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Mayor Charles Sammarone, who wasn’t at the hearing, recommends using money from the leasing for residential demolition and neighborhood improvements.

Paglia and Chadsey emphasized that point when discussing the legislation.

But plenty of others who spoke at the public hearing said short-term money, for what they contend are long-term health and environmental problems, isn’t worth the risk.

Lynn Anderson of Youngstown, a vocal opponent of fracking, told council members at the hearing: “You’re going to kill your citizens.”

Jean Engle of Youngstown, co-president of Treez Please, said, “When people start getting ill, know that you opened the door.”

Janet Bonner of Youngstown asked if council members were so “crazy for money” that they would do “something this stupid.”

A majority of the seven-member council already has said they’re going to vote today in favor of the plan.

Susie Beiersdorfer of Youngstown, a longtime opponent of fracking, said council was just “going through the motions” with the hearing as a decision already has been made.

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.

Two council members — Mike Ray, D-4th, and Paul Drennen, D-5th — will vote against the proposal.

They want to permit the administration to seek offers for drilling, but not enter into a contract without council’s approval.

But the other five don’t support that.

“I understand it’s a highly sensitive issue,” said Councilman John R. Swierz, D-7th. “All of council is concerned about safety. But we have to weigh everything.”

There is a “risk in anything you do,” but this is “an opportunity to get some money that we haven’t had before.”

Swierz and Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, said they’ve read a lot about gas and oil drilling, and approving this is best for the city.

The city has about 1,070 vacant homes that need to be demolished, but has money to take down only about 300 to 400 homes, Sammarone has said.

The city has about 400 acres usable for drilling, said Finance Director David Bozanich.

No one from the administration was at council’s public hearing. Sammarone said before the hearing that he’s heard it all before and there’s no reason to hear it again.


1michael1757(402 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

He's heard it all before. That's a good attitude to take. So his mind's made up,& he's gonna do it regardless.Are they putting an oil derrick in his backyard? Didn't think so.

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2uselesseater(229 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

How does the city have any land for drilling?

Government isn't supposed to have a portfolio collection of land.

400 acres is a huge amount of land. Anyone care to explain where all this land is? That is approaching 2% of all land within Youngstown's borders.

If it is what I think, a collection of discarded broken stamp sized lots, they are useless. You can't drill in residential areas. You can't drill in a backyard.

You need real space, continuous acres and buffer acres to do any of this and even then, still not enough space.

If Youngstown cares about it's neighborhoods and the blight, they need a program to rehab homes, by live-in new residents.

This tear down cancer isn't sustainable in any way. If it wasn't for the financial graciousness of the better off who don't live in this cesspool, we'd have probably < 50 teardowns a year.

If Sammarone and the fools on Council want to sell the rights, knowing that such drilling cannot be done, then sure, take the money and run. But please, funnel it into something more productive.

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3Attis(1025 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

"This is an opportunity to get some money we haven't had before". Well, so is legalizing and taxing prostitution. Why not do that if getting money is the only consideration? And it is vastly superior to the political prostitution practiced by City Hall.

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4uselesseater(229 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago


You purport to be in this industry. So set the record straight on these urban land deals or at least point someone to any "reference" provided by your organization or the industry.

What I said was:
"If it is what I think, a collection of discarded broken stamp sized lots, they are useless. You can't drill in residential areas. You can't drill in a backyard.

You need real space, continuous acres and buffer acres to do any of this and even then, still not enough space."

Is that what your industry is doing and wants to do? Drill on 1/10th acre lots, in residential settings, etc.?

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5cambridge(3461 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

uticashale....If I go on your website will it tell me why the oil and gas industry is exempt from the "Clean Water and Clean Air Acts" or will it evade the question like you and the other oil and gas shills?

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6peggygurney(408 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

I wish the comments section had a like and dislike feature that other websites do. There is a lot to like about most of these comments.

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7uselesseater(229 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

Well it seems clear, drillers need 6-8 acre sized pads for drilling central. There aren't many pieces of property that size in Youngstown. The city shouldn't be in possession of any of them either. We should force the sale for productive use or to a taxpayer.

Drillers go down then horizontally, perhaps for miles and snake reserves out from under you. Hmm.

All that sounds fine, ignoring the destruction of roads, the frack juice waste and disposal.

Then you have the big bang to fracture the rock which certainly is capable of cracking and doing far more damage. You have the empty void created after sucking the valuables out.

Every other mining technique deals with eventual collapses. Some of huge resulting in land dropping (long wall mining), others are seen and heard in earthquakes.

Why would rich resource men want to subject high density populations with masses of wealth in small area to such hazards and future problems? (yes even in broke Youngtown there is massive money in any straight 2 mile direction combined, insured, etc.) It boggles the mind. There are plenty of reserves and land where a single land owner owns hundreds of acres and those reserves haven't been tapped yet.

Doesn't anyone remember the mess from coal mining these cities are still dealing with? The runoff, pollution, cave ins, flooded shafts, etc.? It is a many BILLION dollar a year problem nationally with no funding from resource companies, insurers, etc. The taxpayers bear the burden, and thus, there is no steady funding to actually resolve the old mine issues.

For the record: I am pro-mining. Have direct family that toiled in coal mines their entire career.

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8BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

"Are they putting an oil derrick in his backyard?"

If I lived next door to you,I'd consider it, Mikey.

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9BabaGhanoush(106 comments)posted 2 years, 11 months ago

"Well, so is legalizing and taxing prostitution."

Spoken like a true democRAT.

Prefers prostitutes and taxes to putting cheap gas in his car.

Not just his car, but all of our cars, eh?

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