Slightly adapted from: Open Letter” by Frackfree Mahoning Valley to Mayor Charles Sammarone and Youngstown City Council: September 18, 2012
"YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO, MAYOR CHARLES P. SAMMARONE AND YOUNGSTOWN CITY COUNCIL DELAYED THE VOTE ON WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012 and WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3RD UNTIL WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17TH, 2012 THAT COULD GREENLIGHT THE SELLING OR LEASING OF YOUNGSTOWN MINERAL RIGHTS, THEREBY OPENING THE DOOR TO FRACKING AND RELATED PROCESSES IN YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
Youngstown, Ohio, 9/18/12 - According to the Youngstown, Ohio Vindicator (9/14/12), in an article titled, “Youngstown council to weigh fracking resolution,” by David Skolnick:
“The mayor is asking city council to support a resolution urging the state to have ‘stringent regulations’ on fracking while also seeking council’s approval to sell the city’s mineral rights.
Mayor Charles Sammarone’s resolution calls for the city to support oil and gas drilling, as permitted by the state, as long as Ohio officials ‘respect local concerns by protecting the citizens of Youngstown through stringent and effective regulation …’ ”
Frackfree Mahoning Valley (FFM), a group of concerned citizens from Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding area, says that fracking and related processes cannot be made safe by implementing “stringent regulation.”
Frackfree Mahoning Valley says that the process is inherently unsafe, as indicated by a mounting number of scientific reports, news articles, and documents. (Please see some of these reports, news videos, and articles at the following URL:
This is not solely an issue for Mayor Sammarone and the Youngstown City Council to decide without adequate due diligence that consists of open, public, preferably televised, dialogue, among independent scientists, physicians and other health professionals, public health officials, the general public, lawyers, mortgage and insurance experts, and industry and business representatives.
Immediate increased transparency and public dialogue is necessary to safeguard the public interest.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley urges all Youngstown and surrounding area citizens to please attend the public meeting at Youngstown City Council on Wednesday, September, 19, 2012.
The adverse risks of fracking and related processes to the public health, safety, and well-being are too great to force them upon the public.
Wherever there is fracking there must be millions of gallons of toxic fracking wastewater produced. What are Youngstown’s plans to identify, test and dispose of this waste and other solid fracking waste? It must go somewhere, and Ohio seems to be the state most preferred for dumping or disposal of Ohio’s or other states’ hydraulic fracturing – related waste. If the greenlight is given for fracking in the city, this will by definition mean that more waste in the Youngstown area will be created. Where will it go? What are the plans for disposal?
It has been established that the December 31, 2011, 4.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Youngstown, Ohio and was felt in numerous surrounding states and as far away as Canada, was linked to a fracking waste disposal deep injection well.
The Youngstown earthquake of December 31, 2011, was one of about 12 earthquakes in an area that never had reported earthquakes before the drilling.
The fact that surrounding states as well as areas in Canada reported feeling that 4.0 mag. earthquake, makes the decision that Mayor Sammarone and Youngstown City Council regarding whether or not to allow fracking and related processes in the city, an issue for all of the citizens in those states or province, as well as Ohio. Have they been officially consulted? Not as far as we know.
It is irresponsible to allow fracking and/or disposal of fracking waste in the city for the latter fact alone. There are too many unknowns about where geological faults lie and how to actually prevent fracking-related earthquakes. Injection wells in the earthquake – related moratorium areas must not be started again. Fracking waste disposal in those areas, at least, must be permanently banned. In addition, the so-called “brine” “saltwater” fracking waste must be independently, publicly, completely, and scientifically tested for all components of this substance.
“Stringent regulations” did not prevent the earthquakes, or other accidents that have taken place recently in Youngstown or the surrounding area. One cannot make an inherently unsafe process safe by making more regulations. For example, asbestos was once thought to be safe for use by the public. Science later showed that asbestos is inherently unsafe. No amount of “strict regulation” will make asbestos safe. This is the same with fracking and related processes. They are inherently unsafe and no amount of regulations will make them safe.
The following fracking – related accidents are not theoretical. This is happening now and must be adequately addressed. These incidents still remain unresolved. If these kinds of spills or accidents are already happening before fracking and related processes are even taking place on a large scale in Ohio, what kinds of health risks and threats to drinking water will the general public face if the industry ramps up full speed ahead? It must be delayed now.
Incidents of concern include but are not limited to:
-Fracking and injection well – related earthquakes:
CNNMoney: “Is drilling causing Ohio earthquakes?" By Poppy Harlow and Erica Fink @CNNMoney January 17, 2012: 11:13 AM ET” [Especially see second video titled, “Ohio's mysterious man-made earthquakes”]
-A 5-mile long spill of “brine” waste near an injection well that was leaked from a truck on the road in Fowler. It is still not clear what that substance was composed of or how the incident occurred. Reports show that “brine” waste can contain carcinogenic chemicals and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). We should know what the community was exposed to as a result of this “brine water” truck spill.
“Weekend Brine Water Spill Reported in Fowler,” WKBN TV News (27),” Published: 7/11 5:46 pm Updated: 7/18 5:56 pm”
-Fish die in a Brookfield, Ohio pond. What exactly caused countless fish to die? Consol Energy was cited by the EPA in relation to the runoff, according to the WKBN TV News report.
“Slag Runoff May Have Caused Brookfield Fish Kill,” WKBN TV News (27) “Published: 7/31 10:14 pm Updated: 8/01 8:11 pm”
-The Purple Cat spill – Coitsville, Ohio. According to the Vindicator cited below: “The spillage drained into an open field near the well site and in the direction of a body of water behind The Purple Cat, the nonprofit, private agency that offers day programs and work opportunities for people with disabilities.”
“D&L faced violations in its past” Published: Mon, January 2, 2012 @ 12:03 a.m., by Karl Henkel, The Vindicator.
-The Ginsburg well. An Ohio well reported as having numerous serious violations is reportedly still operating.
"Teresa Mills and Heather Cantino - Injection Wells":
--Seismic testing allegedly caused damage to the courthouse building in Marietta, Ohio. Could this happen elsewhere and what are the exact risks of seismic testing on old pipes and structures? Youngstown and other state and city officials should be looking at what happened in Marietta for “lessons learned,” as the title cited below says. Seismic testing is going on currently in various parts of Ohio. According to the Marietta Times article cited below, “…Slight damage occured [sic] in at least one local residence near Ohio 60 where the trucks were conducting their tests. And the seismic waves may be the cause behind a sewer pipe breaking in the new Marietta Municipal Court. The broken line caused sewage and water to leak into a storage area, damaging some records. City engineers say they are also concerned culverts along the way may have been damaged.”
“Seismic testing, lessons learned?”, July 14, 2012, The Marietta Times:
These kinds of incidents do not inspire public confidence in the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) or other Ohio officials’ ability to safely regulate the gas and oil industry. These serious accidents make assurances given by officials regarding “stringent regulations” sound like false reassurances. Even small human errors can cause highly damaging consequences. Drinking water sources and public health should not be put in jeopardy.
The following news articles include information about why these kinds of decisions cannot be rushed through council without adequate due diligence and public notification of what is going on in their communities. The public must have a real opportunity to voice their feedback and concerns.
An astounding example of the lack of thinking things through adequately when it comes to permitting fracking and related processes in Ohio is the drilling in the watershed of the Meander Reservoir. This reservoir is a drinking water source for 300,000 citizens in our Mahoning Valley. Preparation for drilling has already begun.
This turn of events and the site chosen near Meander is astonishing, especially in light of a news report from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, in August of 2012, where, according to Timothy Puko of the Tribune – Review, cited below, “A gas-drilling site leaked sediment above a drinking – water reservoir in Westmoreland County, leading state environmental regulators to issue a violation notice.” (8/1/12) The driller was reported to be Consol Energy, according to the news article.
“Drilling leak leads to violation notice”, by Timothy Puko, August 1, 2012, Tribune-Review:
Details about the drilling near Meander Reservoir and the location of the well “in the Meander Reservoir’s watershed”, according to the Tribune – Chronicle, are included in the following Tribune Chronicle article (9/14/12). According to the Tribune – Chronicle article, CNX Gas Co. LLC is the driller of the horizontal well.
“Drilling commences at Mahoning County well: Opponents decry location”, September 14, 2012, By BRENDA J. LINERT
The Marcellus Drilling News reports that the watershed well “…is being drilled by CNX Gas (subsidiary of CONSOL Energy)”, which reportedly was issued a violation notice in the above-mentioned article describing the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, drilling leak incident.
Is this the same company that will soon be drilling in the Meander watershed? This needs to be made clear. The public needs to know.
“CNX Gas Starts Utica Well in Meander Reservoir Watershed”, Marcellus Drilling News:
There is an urgent and great need to slow this entire process down while people educate themselves and learn the truth about what is going on in their residential neighborhoods when it comes to the gas and oil industry drilling. Drilling has even commenced or is being considered as an option near cemeteries, schools, homes, forests, and parks in various parts of the country.
Frackfree Mahoning Valley believes that promises of quick money for leasing mineral rights by the oil and gas drilling industry are clouding some peoples’ judgment regarding the dangers of fracking and related processes. Issues such as gas drilling- related eminent domain and mandatory or forced pooling need to be fully understood by the general public.
There is too much rushing to drill without the public’s full knowledge. On too many occasions, the public is caught off guard by how swiftly drilling activities are moving into their neighborhoods near homes and schools. This is not right and must stop.
What’s the rush?
See: “Fracking in Suburbia”, [features Broadview Heights, Ohio]:
“Tuesday, 18 September 2012 10:09 By Andrew Spear and Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Video Report”:
Articles that address other states’ experiences with fracking and related processes show that even strict regulations are not always enforced. Ohio is not adequately prepared to police spills, leaks, mechanical failures, and accidents that are already beginning to occur. First responders, health professionals, and the general public need to know what exactly is in the fracking “brine” waste.
We in Ohio should be learning from residents’ experiences in other states with fracking and related processes rather than some people or officials ignoring or remaining unaware of other states’ problems and damages related to gas drilling and plunging blindly and recklessly, full speed ahead. This is foolish and irresponsible. It is a disservice to the community and a threat to public health and safety.
See: “North Dakota’s Oil Boom Brings Damage Along With Prosperity” “by Nicholas Kusnetz, Special to ProPublica June 7, 2012, 11:47 a.m.”
Also see: Update 1 – Many informative links to videos, articles, and reports can be found at the end of Update 1 at:
[GAO Report:] “Drinking Water Safeguards Are Not Preventing Contamination From Injected Oil and Gas Wastes RCED-89-97, Jul 5, 1989” http://www.gao.gov/products/RCED-89-97
“Cracks in the Façade …” Dusty Horwitt, Senior Counsel, Environmental Working Group, August 3, 2011:
These are just a few of the reasons why Mayor Sammarone and Youngstown City Council must delay the vote on fracking in Youngstown, Ohio, on Wednesday, September 19, 2012.
If this vote is not delayed in order for the Youngstown City Council to continue to do additional proper study and due diligence and to properly inform the general public of the serious risks of fracking and related processes to the public health, safety, and well-being, Frackfree Mahoning Valley believes that such apparent willingness to rush into an agreement for oil and gas industry drilling or fracking in Youngstown, without adequate due diligence, will show that Mayor Sammarone and Youngstown City Council are not adequately protecting the public’s health, safety, and well-being.
The health of our communities, citizens, families, and future generations must take priority in any decision-making regarding fracking and related processes. Too much is at stake for irresponsible, rash decisions to be made.
Delay the vote. It is the right thing to do.
For media inquiries or more information, e-mail:
email@example.com or call:
Frackfree America National Coalition
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org call: 234-201-8007