Brookfield residents file appeal in attempt to stop injection well

By Samantha Phillips


Discussions over an appeal filed by Brookfield residents who seek to reverse the state’s authorization for a company to begin operating one of its injection wells will likely happen after the start of the new year.

Linda Osterman, executive director of Ohio’s Oil and Gas Commission, said the appeal last month did not include a request for the company, Highland Field Services, to avoid operating its well during the appeal process.

The commission reviews grievances stemming from orders by the chief of Ohio’s Oil and Gas Division of the Department of Natural Resources. The appeal requests that the commission review the chief’s order from October that gave the final approval for Highland Field Services, a subsidiary of Seneca Resources, to begin operating its No. 5 injection well under certain safety conditions.

Injection wells force wastewater from the gas and oil industry deep underground as a means of disposal.

Osterman said the commission, which serves as an advisory council, will schedule a conference call between the counsels advising the Brookfield Citizens Against Injection Wells group and ODNR to set a hearing date. Ohio law doesn’t set time limits for the appeals.

Highland Field Services could file a motion to intervene, she added.

RELATED: •Broofield officials, residents still objecting to start of Highland injection well

• Highland asks ODNR to start injecting wastewater into Brookfield well

• ODNR approves three more injectin wells for Brookfield site

Rob Boulware, spokesman for Seneca Resources, said the injection well likely won’t begin drilling until after the start of the new year.

Stamped Notice of Appeal

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Stamped Notice of Appeal

With regard to the chief’s order, he said, “ODNR has parameters for where companies can drill wells for production or for injection, and all five injection wells permitted on that location sit within the guidelines prescribed by ODNR.”

James Yskamp and Andrew Karas of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services represent the residents, and argue that the injection well is unlawful because it “infringes on local Ohio residents’ alienable rights of enjoying life and liberty, and it infringes on their happiness and safety.”

Township trustees and some Brookfield Township residents, including those who live in Wyngate Manor nearby, have long opposed the wells, citing concerns of earthquake and environmental impact.

The appeal cited incidents such as the earthquake caused by an injection well in Youngstown in 2011 and argues that most homes in the area couldn’t withstand seismic activity. It also claims residents’ water supply could be affected by well operations.

When the chief’s order was issued in October, a spokesman for ODNR said, “The injection well complies with the requirement of [Ohio law], does not jeopardize public health or safety, and is in accordance with good conservation practices.”

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