Activist blasts Mahoning leaders for water sale to CNX Gas

By Peter H. Milliken


An anti-fracking activist chastised the Mahoning County commissioners for agreeing last week to sell county water to CNX Gas Co. for a well drilling site off Blott Road in Jackson Township.

“We urge the county commissioners not to sell any water to them,” Lynn Anderson of Youngstown, who appeared with a group of local environmental activists, said at Thursday’s commissioners’ meeting.

“We do not need our MVSD water sold to frackers,” she said, adding that she opposes the drilling, which she said could adversely affect the Meander Reservoir watershed, where the drilling site is located. “They frack those wells with 6 million gallons of water and 300-plus chemicals, plus silica sand,” she said.

She was referring to the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District, which sells treated Meander Reservoir water to Youngstown, which sells it to the county’s distribution system in Jackson and Milton townships.

“If they’re permitted to operate in the state of Ohio to do the business that they’re proposing to do, then we would be willing to sell them water,” said Bill Coleman, office manager in the county sanitary engineer’s office.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources issued a permit for CNX to drill on Blott Road.

“I believe that there are no environmental issues,” for the county’s water and sanitary sewer system in connection with the county’s sale of the water to CNX, said Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti. But Righetti said she wants to discuss the matter further with county sanitary engineering officials.

Under the water service agreement, the county agrees to supply up to 500,000 gallons a day to the drilling site, with the county charging the company $6 per thousand gallons.

Susan Beiersdorfer of Youngstown, another anti-fracking activist and a Green Party candidate for Youngstown City Council president, said she is “tired of the willful ignorance by both officials and citizens” concerning environmental matters, including those related to oil and gas drilling.

“I’m offended by the term willfully ignorant ... People that are in leadership in this county and these townships are going through as much training as they can about this,” said Springfield Township Trustee Bob Orr, whose township will soon be the site of a major natural gas processing plant.

CNX officials could not be reached to comment.

Also appearing again before the commissioners was Lowellville Mayor James Iudiciani, who expressed concern about the ongoing safety of poor or non-existent radio communications for emergency responders in low-lying parts of the Lowellville area..

That issue has surfaced in many recent incidents, including Tuesday’s vehicle chase through Youngstown, Campbell and Struthers that ended in a suspect wrecking, fleeing and being caught in a foot chase along the Mahoning River near the Lowellville schools complex, the mayor said.

Clark Jones, county emergency management director, said his office is working on a lease to install a radio repeater on a Knox Street tower in Youngstown that is owned by Clear Channel Communications Inc., to improve emergency responders’ radio reception along the Mahoning River in the east end of the county.

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