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Group protests local fracking in Youngstown

Published: Thu, September 13, 2012 @ 12:01 a.m.


Protesters at an anti-fracking rally march from the The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown to the Stambaugh Auditorium. Alice Lynd, top, participated in the rally Wednesday.




Local people against fracking were encouraged at a rally Wednesday to get involved and pressure their politicians to take action on their behalf.

A group of more than 30 protesters gathered at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Youngstown to watch Josh Fox’s short film “The Sky is Pink” after listening to former Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields.

Shields led council to pass the nation’s first municipal ban on hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a process in which sand, water and chemicals are pumped into shale at a high pressure to release the gas trapped within the rock thousands of feet underground.

After the film, they began a march that concluded at Youngstown City Hall.

Government officials need to be concerned with the health, safety and welfare of their citizens, Shields said.

Pittsburgh City Council did a lot of research and brought in a number of industry people before making a decision. They determined there were risks involved with fracking, he said.

“We read the science and determined this is not safe,” Shields said.

There have been no health studies that can prove there is no risk associated with fracking, he said.

“It’s not your responsibility to prove this is conclusively bad,” Shields said. “It’s their responsibility to prove that it’s conclusively good, and they can’t do that.”

One government official supporting the efforts of the protesters was state Rep. Robert Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th.

“Today, in Youngstown and all across the country, people concerned about the dangers of fracking and injection wells are coming together to stand up against the big-money oil and gas industry. Legitimate concerns remain about an industry that has the potential to devastate our communities and environment, and from which there has been a staggering lack of transparency,” Hagan said.

“This call to action day is an opportunity for the public to put pressure on and demand answers from these companies that have so far shown blatant disregard for anything other than their bottom line.”

Not everyone in the area supported the efforts of the protesters.

Utica Shale development has helped attract more than $1 billion in investments and 1,500 new jobs just in the shale supply chain industries in the Mahoning Valley, said Tom Humphries, president & CEO of Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber

“This development has occurred without a single environmental frac-related incident in 2011 ... hydraulic fracturing has been in use in Ohio since the 1940s without incident,” he said.

The state took actions when there were problems with brine injection wells. They shut down wells that caused issues and strengthened state laws, Humphries said.

“With this in mind, I think protesting this responsible activity is misguided and a disservice to the many people in our Valley who have obtained jobs or hope to obtain jobs related to shale development,” he said.

Ohioans are witnessing the benefits the industry is bringing — despite being early in the process — and educating themselves in processes and practices involved in oil and natural gas development, said Dan Alfaro, spokesman for Energy in Depth — Ohio, an industry group.

“Youngstown has experienced these benefits firsthand with the revitalization of steel and manufacturing in the Mahoning Valley — a return of jobs tied directly to the development of our resources in the Utica Shale,” he said.

Local civil rights activist, historian, author, and attorney, Staughton Lynd, said it's shameful that leasing companies are trying to gain access to the rights under cemeteries using Mount Hope Veterans Memorial Park Cemetery in Youngstown as an example.

This is a community that took pride in the fact they fought after the steel mills closed, he said. Now people are willing to do anything for economic development.

A few local areas like Niles have taken the first steps toward banning injection wells locally, he said.

“They’re taking different steps than Campbell, Struthers and the city of Youngstown, which are relying on fracking,” Lynd said.


1James_S(268 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Drill. But don't frack. These foreign companies, like BP, don't care.

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2Sumpintasay(55 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I am more concerned about the brine. I see brine trucks all the time from PA coming to dump here in Ohio. Brine dumping is illegal in PA so good old Ohio said "We'll take it!"
PA took the fracking jobs and money but gave us their brine.. good deal for them, eh?

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3ForJobs(3 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Wow what a protest, a whole 30 people. Bring the jobs and money to this area and ignore these career protesters.

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4republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

These protesters are individuals scared of their shadow and do not understand how science and the advancement of society works.

If they want to, they are free to withdraw from society and live with the Amish. Until then they should take their fears and unfounded phobias and get out of the way as we gradually improve the economy and people's lives.

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5amyd1986(4 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone these days educate themselves with the facts? Go to the ODNR site and see what it says about fracking, all the chemicals used are listed sand and water is used mostly and this fracking has been going on longer then I even know. If you look at the amount of wells in Ohio alone it clearly isn't as much of an issue as people are making it out to be. There has never been a contamination in Ohio... Read the facts people! If there was such a problem with it we would of all noticed and had issues a long time ago the only reason its an issue now is because of the media of course which most of the time doesn't even give out the right information!!!

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6amyd1986(4 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Ohio has benefited tremendously already... gas stations have more business... hotels.... restruants..... etc. etc. because of this, which is only using out natural resources to our benefit. There are also jobs that are and will be created everyday!!!

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7amyd1986(4 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

well this article actually says some of the things i just stated I just see people protesting against fracking and it gets me fired up and I make the comments but this article does have some good and facts to it jobs, benefits of the industry... and on and on!!

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8howardinyoungstown(591 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This article is a must read, it tells the story of a family that has been dealing with gas drilling for 4 years now and the effects it has had on themselves and their community.


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9tookie(64 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

There are risks in all industries. The fact is that some truck is getting into an accident and spilling something on I-80 weekly. Do we ban trucking? Fracking has been going on in Ohio for many years and has not caused problems. And technology is improving to the point that there will be no need to dispose of frac fluid in the future. We can continue to see job growth and a resurgence in our economy while managing the risks of shale development. I think most people in our area support that.

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10cambridge(4065 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

UticaShale....can you or any of the other posters tell me why fracking is exempt from the "Clean Air" and "Clean Water" act? Is it because the chemicals you use are so pure that you would give that water to your own baby or is because fracking pollutes?


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11willinnyny(118 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago


But remember, those who stand to gain the most from FRACKING, will LIE the most to get their PROFITS from it.


DON’T BE FOOLED by the Public Relations Propaganda of Fracking Corporations.

FRACKING for shale gas is NOT CLEAN energy — in truth, it is DIRTY energy.

FRACKING INEVITABLY LEAKS TOXIC CHEMICALS INTO THE AIR AND WATER. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years.

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PIPES AND CONCRETE THAT WON’T EVENTUALLY BREAK DOWN. Fracking releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.

Even more importantly, shale gas contains one of the earth’s largest carbon reserves, many times more than our atmosphere can absorb. Burning more than a small fraction of it will render the climate unlivable, raise the price of food and make coastlines unstable for generations.

Few people are aware that America’s NATURAL GAS ALLIANCE HAS SPENT OVER $80 MILLION IN A PUBLICITY CAMPAIGN (PROPAGANDA) that includes the services of high-power advertising/public relations agencies.

GREED — as many Christians are aware — is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

And GREED for PROFITS is the motivating factor behind FRACKING.

The FRACKING INDUSTRY cares nothing about the public good or the average citizen or a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren.

It cares only about its GREED for PROFITS.

Those who stand to gain the most from FRACKING — will LIE the most to get it.

Don’t forget it.

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12walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I believe the answer is that some of the products used in the drilling of deep wells and the fracturing process are proprietary formulations that companies don't won't divulged. However, there must be a way to have regulators examine formulations to ensure that the products are used safely. I'm not as concerned with the use of the products in the drilling process or in the ultimate injection into storage wells. I'm more concerned with the removal and transport of the wastes from then drill sites. This process can be done safely but safeguards must be in place as accidents can and do happen. But, we are already transporting a multitude of hazardous chemicals daily from other industrial processes.

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13cambridge(4065 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

walter....I don't consider your post an answer to my question.

So, can you or any of the other posters tell me why fracking is exempt from the "Clean Air" and "Clean Water" act? Is it because the chemicals they use are so pure that you would give that water to your own baby or is because fracking pollutes?

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14James_S(268 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The "foreigners" (as Warren G. Harding called them) now own this country. They own our Congress...(ask Jim Traficant). They own our $$$MONEY$$$ through their Federal Reserve. They own General Motors because they loaned their $$$MONEY$$$ to General Motors and bailed them out. Until that debt is paid off, they will continue to own it.

They choose our presidents. They choose our foreign policy. They choose our domestic policy.

They are the ones responsible for the influx of foreign companies buying up the USA.

V and M Star is a foreign company.

They have chosen to go ahead with fracking.

Our politicians will obey their masters and go along with their masters orders to frack the living daylights outta this country.

"Truth is tyranny in the Empire of Lies"- Ron Paul

"Don't be deceived..."

P.S.- Good comments, IMO, so far from Ytown20, Sumpintosay, howardinyoungstown, cambridge and last but not least, willinnyny.

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15walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't consider the two choices you provided to be the only answers available. Chlorine gas is highly toxic and will kill you instantly or at least eat the skin off your bones. However, chlorine gas is dissolved into the very drinking water that you would feed that baby! In fact, it is done in a concentration high enough so that there is enough residual chlorine at the terminus in an underground pipe system to kill bacteria. So, yes, I guess we all poison our children.

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16cambridge(4065 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

walter....we are talking about fracking chemicals that are exempt from the "Clean Air" and "Clean Water" acts.

I don't know if your trying to avoid an answer, BS people or you don't understand my question.

I'll try to make it simple. If you had a well on your land that was your families sole source of water for drinking, bathing, cooking, irrigation or any other use why not get an extra 60 pieces of silver and have that brine dumped down that well you use for your source of water? After all the chemicals are perfectly safe and cause no damage to the environment, right?

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17IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

This is PLUTOCRACY in action.

Just think of all the jobs this can create in fields like MEDICINE, DRUG REASERCH and PHARMACEUTICAL SALES!! Poisoning the water supply by injecting chemicals into the earth is a GREAT way to create jobs in those fields. We know that our elected officials are going to look out for the interest of the PEOPLE and not those lobbyists who write those big checks.

Why is it that when a citizen gets caught trying to pay off an elected official, it's called BRIBERY, but when a CORPORATION does it it's called LOBBYING? Can anyone explain the difference?

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18DwightK(1535 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

We need to know what is in the brine so we can look for it later on in drinking water supplies. I'm not saying we shouldn't frack but we have to know what is being injected in the wells. Transparency is key to knowing drillers are operating safely.

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19walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

who is talking about pumping chemicals down into a well used for drinking water? Injection wells use steel and concrete casing to pump chemicals for all types of industries, not just the fracking process, through impermeable stone and into sandstone that is many thousands of feet down. However, I also believe that they should somehow disclose to some federal agency a list of chemicals used in the process so we know that the process is being done to some standards and monitoring can be done. Now, I suppose you believe that businesses have paid our legislators off to exempt them from the standards since everyone has a price.

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20cambridge(4065 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

walter....bingo! You are correct, I do "believe that businesses have paid our legislators off to exempt them from the standards since everyone has a price."

Not only do i believe it, I know who got paid off and who did the paying. When president, the dick, chenney had the energy companies wright America's energy policy and regulations, that is when halliburton and the rest got their exemptions. chenney has made millions from halliburton hasn't he?

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21JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ Ytown20:

> > Just think....this "brine" is being spread on our roads. I'm with the concerned citizens, ban fracking! < <

NO, IT IS NOT. Another case of misinformation gone wild. The brine used in ice melt applications is not frac well flow back.

But that is a great idea, no more damaging to vehicles than what is now used and just think of the cost savings !

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22JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ stop:

> > Bob Hagan who is a man of wisdom will lead the way < <

In the Army, we used to say there are 2 things will get you in deep shi , wet toilet paper and a Second Lieuy with a road map.

Here's a third:

Lead the way, Bob, let's see who follows.

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23JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ cambridge:

> > So, can you or any of the other posters tell me why fracking is exempt from the "Clean Air" and "Clean Water" act? Is it because the chemicals they use are so pure that you would give that water to your own baby or is because fracking pollutes? < <

I suggest that you contact Bob Hagan who seems to have all of the answers that you want to hear.

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24JoeFromHubbard(1776 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I've had my fun with this one.

Damn the torpedoes,
Full bore ahead.

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25IslandMike(764 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

We need more EARTHQUAKES.

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26DSquared(1778 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

What! No stories on the pathetic Obama Doctrine in the Middle East. Come on Vindy. How long is the media going to prop this imposter up?

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27Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Proprietary fracking fluid, boy that makes things convenient for lawsuits concerning potentially harmed citizens. As to the folks posting about the number of people protesting what difference does a small number make ? Does it mean they are wrong? Jesus Christ had only 12 constant companions. Did that make his message untrue? What asinine logic. The protesters aren't being PAID by big oil either.

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28walter_sobchak(2672 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I don't believe I have ever called Barack Hussein Obama a muslim. I just don't know what faith he actually ascribes to since the Rev. Wright's church is not one he wants to be affiliated with anymore. Do you know how long fracking has been going on in the US, the quantity of injection wells in Ohio and the chemicals that are injected into them other than from fracking? All I know is, I just got my new natural gas rate from my aggregation plan and I will be paying about the same rate as I was 20 years ago. I agree with arod, keep drilling!

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29Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Anyone else think a 30 person protest doesn't really warrant front page coverage?

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30Jeidel(7 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It seems every time a new opportunity comes over the horizon,out come the doomsday people
With there idoliogy of social ruin. If we did not
Seek new technoligy and advancement
where would we be today. These people
have no vision

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31Bigben(1996 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Anyone else think people paid by the industry may be more likely to lie?

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32tookie(64 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

yes, the coverage was overblown. My guess is that they saved a spot on the front page anticipating a large crowd and didn't change those plans even with the small crowd.

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