Concerned Residents hold meeting
BARNESVILLE – The June 24th open public meeting held at the Barnesville Library Annex and sponsored by Barnesville Area Concerned Residents was well attended. Those present included County Commissioners Ginny Favede and Matt Coffland along with Scott Gallagher, Village Councilman, Bill Knox, Village Economic Development Director, and all three Warren Township trustees. The meeting was facilitated by Rich Sidwell, retired Head of Olney Friends School.
First on the agenda was an update on the proposed EnerGreen fracking waste disposal project that is being considered by the Belmont County Port Authority for the Regional Industrial Park north of Barnesville. The Port Authority has tabled any action on the project until September when EnerGreen may return with a revised proposal. Several residents expressed continuing concerns about the impact of the proposed project if it is approved.
The group acknowledged that while the Energreen project remains a live concern until the matter is settled, the larger issue of drill site waste disposal anywhere in the region is very much a continuing concern. A number of questions were aired about where wastes are stored, how they handled, and what, if any, current local or state regulations were in place to insure safe procedures. Because of the volume of material, both liquid and solid, that is being generated by the oil and gas industry, transportation alone becomes a significant risk. One truck accidentally spilling toxic liquid into a roadside upstream from the Village’s water reservoirs, for instance, could seriously contaminate the drinking water supply. Several proposed additional water testing along with increased training and support for emergency personnel in order to quickly and adequately to contain spills. Planned placement of three drilling rigs on the slopes above Slope Creek Reservoir caused considerable discussion of the potential risks and what extra measures might be needed to safeguard the water supply. The question was asked whether placement of the drill rigs could be reconsidered.
Finally there was acknowledgment that our state representatives needed to hear from us about the need for adequate regulations coupled with support for well staffed enforcement agencies.
The next meeting planned by the Concerned Residents will again be open to the public and will be held at the Barnesville Library Annex, 611 North Chestnut St., Barnesville on Tuesday evening July 8. Ted Auch of Cleveland Heights Ohio will be the presenter. Auch represents Fracktracker.org an independent alliance of educators, scientists, and citizens focused on data gathering and information sharing about the hydrofracturing industry. Go to www.fractracker.org for more information.