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McDonald man asks: Is Lordstown ready if oil evacuation needed?

Published: Thu, March 28, 2013 @ 12:09 a.m.

trumbull county

By Ed Runyan



As horizontal gas and oil wells using hydraulic fracturing begin to populate Trumbull County, a McDonald man asked the Trumbull County commissioners Wednesday whether firefighters are ready for the first accident that results in a need for evacuation.

Specifically, John Williams, a member of Frackfree Mahoning Valley and Frack Free Ohio, said he’s concerned about what would happen if the Kibler well off Brunstetter Road in Lordstown had an accident that required evacuation of residents in the nearby Westwood Lake Mobile Home Park.

The park is about 350 feet from the well, Williams said, and has about 800 residents. “If there’s a blowout, where do people go?” Williams asked.

Ernie Cook, director of the Trumbull County 911 center and a member of the board of the Trumbull County Emergency Management Agency, said a decision on how to handle that type of accident would be in the hands of the fire chief in the community involved.

The Emergency Management Agency would be available to provide any assistance the fire chief requested, Cook said.

“We have a plan for terrorism and a plan for tornadoes, but what about wells?” Williams asked.

Linda Beil, EMA director, said a horizontal gas-well accident would be handled under the countywide Emergency Operation Plan, which has a specific section on handling gas and oil wells.

“It’s our basic plan that the fire chief in charge ... would decide on an evacuation route,” Beil said, adding that specific evacuation routes cannot be predetermined because circumstances change.

The only other section of the plan specific to a certain kind of emergency is terrorism, Beil said. There is no specific plan for tornadoes.

It’s nearly time for a revision of the plan, but Beil said she doesn’t envision there being a need for major revisions based on the arrival of horizontal wells in the past few months.

In the event of an accident that required an evacuation, the incident commander from the community involved would contact Beil, and she’d contact the American Red Cross to arrange for shelter.

The Trumbull County Fire Chiefs Association met last week with officials from BP America, which plans to drill about 10 wells in the county this year. BP has its own emer-gency-response crews available and has offered to provide training to Trumbull County firefighters for oil and gas emergencies, Beil said.

“I don’t have any concerns, but any training we can get I’d like to take them up on it,” Beil said. One of the challenges is that many of the fire departments in the areas where most of the wells are being drilled are part-time and not readily available for training.

Don Barzak, director of governmental affairs for Trumbull County Engineer Randy Smith, said the wells that have been drilled so far are in Hartford Township and Lordstown.

Other well pads are under construction — all by BP — are on state Route 305 just west of state Route 7 in Hartford Township, state Route 193 just north of the Fowler Township line in Johnstown Township, and Ridge Road just south of state Route 87 in Gustavus Township.

Though Halcon Resources said in late January that the wells it drilled in Hartford and Lordstown would be vertical wells only for testing purposes, Halcon changed course after that and went ahead with horizontal drilling at both locations.

Halcon is required to report production results to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from those wells in a couple of months, so that will be the first indication of the amount of oil and gas produced from them, he said.

Meanwhile, a company working for BP has indicated its plans to install 90 miles of pipelines in Trumbull County this year, Barzak said. The company has submitted a preliminary road-use and maintenance agreement for the pipeline installation, and the county is reviewing it.


1Debbie(22 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, who's funding all of this drilling? Who is ripping up large portions of the American landscape for an energy source that is now antiquated? Where are they from? Is this supposed cache of gas & oil a payoff to those from abroad whom a few Americans owe lots of money? If so, I'd say the individuals in each community affected by this are pretty much on their own. After all, what on earth is a fire chief going to do for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of people at a moment's notice? Any fresh water for these people would just have to be taken from someone else who also needs it. Yes, fracking has created one big ugly mess, both in speculation and in reality.

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2Debbie(22 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I have credentials as a U.S. citizen to ask any and all questions that come to mind on a topic. According to our Constitution, these credentials obligate me to do so. Pop back in when you have answers to a couple of them.

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3walter_sobchak(2728 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Community agitators making a big noise about a big nothing. We ahve had oil and gas wells in the area for decades. Any question 50 years ago about what would happen with a blow-out? Whether the hydrocarbons come from a vertical well or a well that is horizontal at the bottom and then vertical at the top, we still have the same problems to deal with reagrding blow-outs. Now, please just go away and let the people cash their royalty checks.

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4Cubbies(37 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

When there is an emergency, I guess those royalty checks can be used to purchase a new home and pay for hospitalization?

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5Debbie(22 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for commenting, Walter. Although most of my original post here was in the form of questions and none have been answered yet, you do make a very strong point to support my position.

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6Pyroc(138 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

It seems that many people have the impression that Fracking is something relatively new. Hydraulic Fracturing was first used in the late 1940's. Fracking was first used way back in the middle of the 19th century. The first well that was ever fracked used a charge of Black Powder, followed by the use of Nitroglycerin a few years later. Hydraulic Fracturing is a much safer and controllable method of fracking compared to the old method of "Shooting" a well with large amounts of Nitro.



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7Debbie(22 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago


If your next door neighbors were running a meth-lab, I'd have to believe that that's no longer the case. You are, without question, an excellent model of good stewardship of your community.

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82fer1(22 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

No one is ready for a well fire or blowout. As usual the taxpayer will be obligated to increase their taxes to provide protection while those reaping the profits get a tax break from our governor. We need to tax this industry in a similar manner as Texas. Did you know there is no state income tax in Texas due to taxes on the oil/gas? Maybe if we taxed the same, we'd find that solution to funding our schools by not having property taxes. Try that one on Governor.

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9Metz10987(145 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Sick of the old fracking has been going on for over 60 years and they kniow that they are doing. Fact is the have only been doing horizontal fracking for 10 yrars and yes then that in Ohio. Every sate's geology is diffrent and while the process is very similar some minor changes have to be made wether it is higher pressure is say they shale is has a layer of grantite over it instead of sandstone or the shale is deeper. They are also still figuring ot how to drill and what safety measures to take. Then there is the greed factor, you have to be a industry paid trool or iduiot to belive the lore of big money will not drive some companies to cut corners regarding safety which is when accidents will and have happened. And anyon who think a drillig rig should be 35 feet from your home does not have one nearby to worry about so they have no clue what they are talking about. That should never have happend and if zoning laws applyed they could never have placed a well in a residential area. Fact is the industry had a big part in changing the law so only the sate has a say not Weatherfield or any community. I really do not understand why so many support this industy. If they found a massive play of shale in China they would clsoe up shop and go to china over night due to the lack of enviromential laws and greeed of goverment officals who will look the other way. We would all look like fools and demand to know why we where scammed. That will happen one day and I hare to say I told you so.

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10DSquared(1788 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Where do we go when one of Obama's cousins detonates a suitcase nuke?

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11ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I really do not understand why so many are against this industry. All it has done is provide many landowners with an income, provided jobs to thousands of local residents and is helping secure our energy independence.

I do not know where you think the energy and materials that you use on a daily basis comes from, but everything from the energy to heat your house to the very materials that your computer is made from comes from oil and gas. But I could sit here and try to rationalize until I was blue in the face and it would not matter one bit, because its all emotion and fearmongering with the antifrackers. Just look at these comments. Very few facts but plenty of accusations, suppositions, opinions and downright falsehoods.

I have done my own independent research into fracking and have yet to find that the fluids themselves are toxic in any way. The concentrations of chemicals are so low that they do not register as toxic any longer.

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