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Youngstown council OKs legislation to lease land for drilling



Published: Thu, October 18, 2012 @ 12:10 a.m.

youngstown

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

In a somewhat heated and confrontational environment, city council approved legislation by a 5-2 vote to allow the city to solicit offers from companies to lease city-owned land for gas and oil drilling.

But drilling isn’t going to come for some time.

The city needs to resolve a number of issues — including title searches and determining if there are land restrictions — before starting the process of finding a company interested in the leasing rights, said city Finance Director David Bozanich.

Though a precise time line isn’t known, Bozanich said it could take six to eight months.

That also fits with a request from some council members — and originally suggested by state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngs-town, D-60th — to first wait until a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency progress report on fracking is done.

The first progress report is planned for later this year.

But if the study is delayed significantly, the city will move ahead without that information, Bozanich said.

A final draft report is expected for public commentin 2014, according to the EPA. The report, conducted at the request of Congress, will examine any potential impacts fracking has on water.

If the progress report says fracking is bad, the city can halt the process of finding a company willing to lease its land for drilling, Bozanich said. “If it says it’s benign, we’ll proceed,” he said.

Also, council has the right to rescind the legislation it passed Wednesday, Bozanich said.

The time line did next to nothing to change the positions of the nearly 50 people at council’s meeting opposing the drilling.

Some said they plan to get signatures on petitions to overturn council’s vote for either the May 2013 election or a special election before that date.

Councilmen Mike Ray, D-4th, and Paul Drennen, D-5th, voted against the proposal because they want council’s final approval on any drilling contract.

The others disagreed, saying that isn’t done with other contracts.

“We have experienced professionals on staff who can handle this,” said Councilwoman Janet Tarpley, D-6th, during the finance committee meeting before council met in chambers.

Mayor Charles Sammarone recommends using money from the leases toward residential demolition and neighborhood improvements.

Sammarone wasn’t at Wednesday’s council meeting because of a previously scheduled vacation.

During the finance committee meeting, Drennen said council doesn’t always agree on everything, and brought up the 4-3 vote from two weeks ago on a resolution asking state officials to fill a vacant municipal court judicial seat.

That led to a heated exchange between Tarpley, who wants the seat filled, and Drennen, who wants the position eliminated to reduce the city’s budget.

Toward the end of council’s meeting, Drennen apologized “for my outburst.”

Ray Beiersdorfer, a Youngs-town State University professor in its geological and environmental sciences department, told council that approving the ordinance would lead to polluted air, water and soil.

Councilwoman Annie Gillam, D-1st, said Beiersdorfer hadn’t said anything against fracking until earthquakes near an injection well occurred last year.

The professor said that wasn’t true.

Another speaker, Tiffany Gregory, criticized council for not putting a proposed charter amendment, proposed by a charter-review committee, that would reduce their annual salaries on the ballot to let voters decide.

If that proposal is not put on the May 2013 ballot, Gregory said she will collect signatures on a petition to put that measure in front of voters.

“We’ll fire your [behinds],” she said.

Gillam said the comment was “very disrespectful.”

Her husband, Artis Gillam Sr., a former councilman, said that serving on council is a full-time position and the $27,817 annual salary is earned.

The charter-review committee recommended reducing council members’ salaries to about $20,722 a year, 80 percent of the average annual income of a city resident.

“It’s a shame that some people are envious of council members that they want to drop councils’ salaries,” Artis Gillam Sr. said.


Comments

1Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"Ray Beiersdorfer, a Youngs-town State University professor in its geological and environmental sciences department, told council that approving the ordinance would lead to polluted air, water and soil."

- - - They don't care about folks getting cancer, getting sick from poisoned water and air. They don't care about the babies and little children. "There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death."
There will be a day when they will give an account of themselves before almighty God.

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2Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"That also fits with a request from some council members — and originally suggested by state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngs-town, D-60th — to first wait until a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency progress report on fracking is done.

The first progress report is planned for later this year.

But if the study is delayed significantly, the city will move ahead without that information, Bozanich said."

How does it fit? They have approved of it before the EPA report was concluded. Also they clearly misrepresented the citizens of Youngstown who overwhelmingly opposed fracking in the city. So how is this democratic government when the desires of the people are completely ignored instead of carried out?

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3ytownsteelman(659 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Why would the people of Youngstown want to continue to wallow in poverty and not pull themselves out of it? Every acre of land in the city has value now. The risks have been greatly trumped up by the antifracking crowd. Notice that they always talk in broad generalities:it will "pollute our water, soil and air", but do not back that up with specific claims. Also, does not the thousands of houses that this money will pay to demolish already pollute the community? Our water comes from a reservoir 20 miles away; any air pollution (I guess from diesel exhaust) will only be temporary; and these companies have good records of cleaning up any messes they make.

The steel mills did far worse and did it for over a century nonstop. We all survived and PROSPERED during that century.

Maybe the people of Youngstown have "battered resident syndrome", where they keep making decisions to keep themselves down. Its strange.

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4Voodoo(2 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Wow seems like I read a lot of this doomsday stuff
40years ago when the exact same thing was being said about the steel mills It's time to move
On into the future

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5cambridge(3299 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Georgein....It's posts like yours that make me proud to be from the valley. Your points were expressed perfectly, do not give up your fight. The valley deserves better than what big oil and gas has to offer because there are far better, cleaner and renewable sources of energy.

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6Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

@ RobXCity "council did NOT misrepresent the citizens of Youngstown, because the citizens do NOT overwhelmingly oppose fracking."

What?????????? How many pro fracking signatures vs non fracking signatures were presented at that meeting?

Those 'loudmouths " are American citizens who wish not to be poisoned nor to have their families poisoned.
Put it on the BALLOT and let the citizens decide. To proceed without the will of the people is a sham at best.

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7Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

How did we ever heat our homes without horizontal fracking before? How did we ever extract natural gas before horizontal fracking ? If we don't horizontal frack the world as we know it will end. Horses will multiply and run all over the city. Traditional drilling is now erased like magic it never existed-poof.

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8Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"Well Ben, that easy gas and oil is all but gone. " - -- I don't buy that one.

"How can live with yourself knowing that your dollars are being spent by the oil and gas companies on what you so despise?"- - - My conscience is clear.

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9southsidedave(5072 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Too much money is at stake to worry about the mere safety of people....fracking is bad - unkay?

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10JoeFromHubbard(1394 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

>> Ray Beiersdorfer, a YSU prof in its geological and environmental sciences department, told council that approving the ordinance would lead to polluted air, water and soil.< <

Ray needs a hair cut but it would create pollution. It would be interesting to hear his lectures on Ytown if he lived here in the 1940's and 50's when the steel mills were in full bloom, people had jobs, and wealth was created.

The fracophobics would never have survived here in those days.

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11Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

"We are still waiting for the first person to drop dead from fracking in Youngstown ..." You'll be waiting a long time fracking fluid contents are proprietary? Isn't that nice?

Lets put fracking on the ballot. Let the people decide. Are the frackers afraid it won't pass?

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12300(573 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Everyone remember, UticaShale failed in his previous business attempts, and had to relocate to Ohio in order to try to scam some money off people he hates (Northerners). He pretends to know what he talks about, but he's not in corporate down in OK or TX.

Urban shrimp farming! That's the future. Urban Shrimp farming!

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13Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

RobX Thanks for expressing your opinion. However, the only democratic way to decide is to vote. All else is just that an opinion.

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14Bigben(1996 comments)posted 2 years, 8 months ago

Lets have the vote. No more canned meetings.This is America let the will of the people be heard at the ballot box.

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