Fracking Opponents Urge City Council to Act

Concerned Citizens Ohio makes recommendations for anti-fracking laws

Kent residents opposed to fracking within city limits returned to Kent City Council seeking action on laws prohibiting oil and gas drilling in the Tree City.

Members of the group Concerned Citizens of Ohio offered members of council a plethora of examples of Ohio communities that had taken action to regulate or all-out ban hydraulic fracturing within their towns.

The group has made several visits to council meetings in the past 12 months to offer information and urge action on the controversial method of fracking for natural gas and oil wells.

Paulette Thurman said the group wanted to expand possible solutions made by the city's sustainability commission, which has reviewed the issue and already made several recommendations to council.

"Our purpose is to broaden the range of solutions for potential problems from urban drilling," Thurman said.

Thurman and other members talked about communities that have passed moratoriums on fracking while the issue is studied, created laws banning drilling on public land and established regulations to protect infrastructure from damage associated to fracking operations.

"Councils have used zoning as a method of protection for roads, infrastructure under roads, and to regulate the transport and disposal of hazardous and toxic fluids," Kent resident Iris Meltzer said.

She pointed out several Ohio communities that banned fracking on village and township properties, including nearby Hartville Township.

Kent resident David Badagnani said the group doesn't just want to ban fracking locally.

"Some actions are based on protecting Kent in the event that urban drilling cannot be avoided," he said.

If Kent doesn't ban fracking, some of the suggestions Badagnani made included:

  • Passing a law requiring drilling corporations to pay for ongoing water testing
  • Request drillers post cash insurance bonds for surface road use and for infrastructure damage such as water line or sewer line cracks related to fracking operations
  • Request drillers pay for damages to all individually owned properties regarding foundation cracks, fires, and other damage related to nearby fracking operations
  • Seek agreements from transport and trucking companies to remain off  city/state roads during school start and release hours

Others suggested the city partner with Franklin Township to protect the area's watersheds.

"Deny to corporations all use of surface and groundwater in Kent and Franklin Township," Jim Voneida said.

He also encouraged members of council and the city administration to tour communities in Pennsylvania and Ohio where fracking operations have had negative effects on the environment.

Erin LaBelle suggested the city create fines for firms that violate regulations related to drilling.

"Let us not assume the oil and gas industry will avoid urban drilling in the city of Kent," she said. "Instead, assume Kent will be as accessible to drillers as any other Ohio community."

Council took no action on the issue after hearing from the group Wednesday.

Ward 5 Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer, after many had left the meeting, commended the group for their research.

"Preventive health is much preferred to trying to reverse serious disease," Shaffer said. "I think it’s really important to look at these recommendations."

Myron Holley January 22, 2013 at 08:28 AM
Left just keeps on blowing steam.
Concerned Neighbor January 22, 2013 at 03:27 PM
While I agree we need to safeguard water, air etc., what method of keeping the human race warm and alive IS acceptable? Nuclear, nope radiation will kill everyone. Gas, nope fracking will destroy the ground water. Oil, nope destroys oceans and air and warms the planet. Wind, nope ugly and kills birds. Solar, nope manufacturing pollutes too much and not viable in the north. Wood, nope pollutes too much. Coal, nope pollutes too much destroys the earth. What's left folks?
Jeff Mittiga January 23, 2013 at 01:08 AM
Giving up our resource of clean water in return for natural gas that will probably be exported to other countries does not seem like a good bargain for the people of Ohio. Humans have existed for tens of thousands of years without needing to frack for natural gas. Maybe we should try more steps for energy conservation to buy some time for clean energy technology to get up to speed.
Ted M January 23, 2013 at 01:56 AM
FRACK ON! It creates jobs!


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