Don’t snuff out Youngstown’s promise as shale industry center

Don’t snuff out Youngstown’s promise as shale industry center

Two stories in The Vindi- cator unfortunately are providing fodder to fracking critics battling oil and natural gas development. The first involves Ohio’s “probable” finding that fracking “may” have caused very minor earthquakes near an undiscovered fault. The second is the illegal dumping of waste into a Mahoning River tributary.

As an oilfield hand who has worked in Ohio, I can attest that neither should inhibit fracking and the production of Ohio’s energy. Not only do the benefits far outweigh the risks, but also technologies and strict regulations are in place to protect the environment and the well-being of communities.

If anti-fracking activists are able to impose drilling delays, new drilling conditions, and slow the energy production process to a halt, the United States will lose its best opportunity to eliminate its dependence on Middle Eastern energy. There’s nothing to be gained by making America weaker and by snuffing out Youngstown’s bright future as the center of Ohio’s shale energy development.

Mark Cares, Bear Creek, N.C.

Foe of fracturing explores reasons to vote for Bill of Rights for city

Here are some reasons to vote for the Community Bill of Rights charter amendment on the Youngstown ballot May 6:

Fracking and injection wells cause earthquakes. I have spoken to many people from the West Side whose homes were damaged by the earthquake caused by the injection well. These people received no financial assistance to repair their homes. The Community Bill of Rights will stop man-made earthquakes!

Fracking waste water contains cancer-causing chemicals. Even worse, since the industry is exempt from the Clean Air and Water Act, it is not required to tell us all the chemicals used in fracking.

Nothing man-made is perfect. There are fracked wells near Meander Reservoir, the source of our drinking water. While being drilled in October, the Cadle well suffered a cracked casing. Lucky for us, it was not producing at the time.

Fracking wastewater is an endocrine disruptor and has been proven to cause miscarriages.The Community Bill of Rights will protect our children!

The number of jobs that fracking will bring to Ohio has been exaggerated.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is not protecting us. It is protecting the industry. The ODNR is responsible for permitting and inspecting wells, and it gets most of its income from well permits.

Despite what the industry and our local politicians say, the Community Bill of Rights is enforceable. The identical bill was passed and enforced in Mansfield, Yellow Springs, and Broadview Heights—all Ohio communities.

Just for the record, despite what our opposition says, we anti-frackers are not rich, radical outsiders. We are local residents who care about Youngstown.

Chris Khumprakob, Youngstown

Don’t let Youngstown become ND

The Youngstown NEIGHBOR- hood Development Corp. has been busy the past few months meeting with neighborhood groups about what they want to see happen in their city. From that, we might project a scenario for the future—less blight, less crime, more trees, more things for young people to do. All solid stuff. But my question is: What good is all this planning for a better city if oil and gas drilling and its accompanying problems are part of the picture?

How livable are our neighborhoods when the air is poisoned by drilling off-gases? I for one would like to be able to breathe without feeling burning in my throat and wondering if my health has been permanently damaged. How livable is this city—and the towns around it—when the single water source, Meander Reservoir, is contaminated and 200,000 people have to find other water supplies? How safe and secure is the health of our children when they are exposed to toxic chemicals and radioactivity in their crucial developmental years? And earthquakes. Is your house sitting on a fault line? You may find out the hard way, and nobody’s going to pay the repair bill but you.

We know these awful things are now part of life for thousands of people in Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Arkansas, North Dakota, etc.—everywhere that hydraulic fracturing is being done. These are NOT acceptable risks, yet most affected residents cannot leave; they can no longer sell their homes because they’re in a fracked zone. Would you buy one?

The proponents of fracking say it will bring jobs, but this claim is proving untrue. The better jobs are traveling with the gas companies—and leaving when the boom is over. Proponents say fracking will increase incomes and therefore the tax base. News flash: people who can afford to leave Youngstown will leave, and there goes your tax base. We can still keep this madness out of Youngstown by voting yes on May 6 for the Community Bill of Rights. We can build a cleaner, brighter, more livable city, but let’s be smart about it.

Jean Engle, Youngstown

Don’t accept low gas severance tax

Since the shale boom has come to our area, our truck traffic has increased, creating more wear and tear to roads. Our police departments have had todeal with heightened calls regarding issues involving out-of-state workers.

Our rental rates have seen increases as well. Ohio House Bill 375 proposes the lowest rates and most generous provisions for the oil and gas industry of three severance tax proposals considered in Ohio during the past year; it is also one of the lowest in the country.

Columbiana County, the third most-drilled in the state, needs to see more of the revenue than this bill is providing. We need to see more of these monies coming back to our county to deal with these issues.

The other issue is the amount of tax. The governor’s proposed rate is 2.75 percent. We need to be comparable with the Texas version, which is at 7.5 percent of market value of gas. The Condensate Production Tax is 4.6 percent of market value of gas.

The oil and gas industry says that if we raise the tax it will not drill here. This is just a ploy because the industry wants our shale gas, and it is not going anywhere. We need to keep them accountable and make sure the revenues come to us.

Amanda Kiger, East Liverpool

In Liberty, pennies a day will help repair many pockmarked roads

A group of concerned Liberty residents have formed the Citizens for Good Roads, Liberty Township Committee to help get the road levy passed. Do we want more taxes? Of course not!

We do believe that the 12 cents a day it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home will protect the bikers, drivers, walkers and stroller pushers in our township. How many times have you driven left of center to miss one of the ever deepening craters? This is a safety issue.

We have done our due diligence. The five-year levy will raise $266,320 per year, and that money can be leveraged to obtain state/federal funding. Loss of former road-income streams mean it is up to us, the citizens of Liberty to pass this levy or live with a continuation of deteriorating roads.

Please vote yes on May 6 for the Liberty road levy. Pennies a day will keep potholes away.

Gary E. Offerdahl, Liberty