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Consider the dangers of drilling

Published: Thu, April 4, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Consider the dangers of drilling

Wake up, neighbors. There’s a frack well in the protected watershed of the Meander Reservoir — in a floodplain area — next to a creek that feeds into the reservoir. ODNR permitted it, CNX is fracking it, and the Mahoning County commissioners not only gave their consent, they are selling 10s of millions of gallons of our fresh drinking water to facilitate fracking. Ohio EPA wasn’t consulted since state law does not require their input on drilling.

Consider the fact that CNX, LLC, has an egregious environmental record: over 22 environmental violations in Pennsylvania from 2010 through 2012. Most of these violations involve failure to properly control or dispose of industrial waste, and discharge of toxic material to waters of the commonwealth.

Then consider that all well casings will fail over time; 6.2 percent fail immediately, as did the Cadle well casing during testing on Oct. 13, 2012. There was a 4-foot vertical split at the surface, which was repaired by none other than Haliburton, the same “experts” whose cement job was implicated in the Deepwater Horizon blowout.

Something else to consider is that ODNR has sole authority over all oil and gas activity in the state, and ODNR is largely funded by the permits they grant. Are you thinking, “conflict of interest” or “fox guarding the hen house?” And don’t forget about the perpetual revolving door among regulatory, legislative, and oil and gas industry jobs.

Do you know about the chemicals used in the fracking process? The industry will tell you they use a few chemicals: 1) surfactants 2) biocides 3) guar. They neglect to mention benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, along with a myriad of other toxic, carcinogenic, and endocrine-disruptive chemicals.

This is our drinking water that’s being put at risk. Do you want to think about how fast your property values will plummet if there is a blowout or a spill?

Are local emergency teams equipped to handle a major toxic spill or conflagration? Do any of our local elected officials have a contingency plan if our water becomes fouled? Somebody better start thinking about a serious plan of action should the unthinkable occur.

We deserve better. We have inalienable rights to clean air, clean water, and clean land. Tell the Mahoning County commissioners to do their due diligence and oppose any additional sale of our water to CNX and to do everything in their power to shut down the Cadle well.

Judy Vershum, Youngstown


1formerdemliberal(182 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

If greenies like this writer existed a hundred years ago, the steel industry would have never been allowed to locate in the Mahoning Valley. I remember the days of black rain covering my parent's house after a storm and the stench of smokestack waste filling the atmosphere. But at that time, those issues were secondary to the fact that people were working and providing a decent opportunity for theirs families to have better future. I'm not advocating going back to those "old days", but reasonable environmental controls over shale drilling operations should be enforced based on collaboration between environmental groups, state oversight authorities, and shale industry executives. This collaborative effort has already resulted in standardized safety standards that will apply to all shale drillers in PA.

God forbid that greenies set aside their fear mongering and personal anti-business agendas and agree to have their leaders sit down and work with those evil government regulators and profit-grabbing industry representatives to come up with reasonable drilling standards that assure clean water monitoring while allowing job creation to continue along with profitable results for shale operators. Believe it or not, these companies also have a vested motivation in maintaining adequate safety standards if only to minimize any litigation costs associated with documented environmental regulatory violations (see Ben Lupo).

To all greenie fanatics, save the emotional rhetoric and realize that the shale boom is the first real opportunity for private sector economic growth since the hey-days of the steel industry. Try to begin to think about how to work with state and private industry leaders to preserve their interests but not at the cost of economic growth and growing job opportunities.

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2concerned(173 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Great letter Judy.

Above writer- since you enjoy calling someone who cares about the environment a "greenie" I will call you someone who does not a " weenie".

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3nipsy(133 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Most people don't care until the accident actually happens. I will never understand how that well was allowed to be placed so close to Meander Resevoir. That is a failure of our politicians, PERIOD!

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4danny347(10 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

Our recent history with the D&L intentional spills, that ODNR, EPA and others haven't the ability to keep us safe. The fact that they allowed this drilling, in our water supply, is further proof.
The mayor of Youngstown and some news people keep saying that we have regulations and will give us more will not protect us. The regulations are not worth the paper that they are written on if there isn't anybody watching.

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