Gentile, Thompson attend local oil and gas meeting

CADIZ – State Rep. Andy Thompson and State Sen. Lou Gentile attended the monthly oil and gas safety meeting at the Puskarich Library in Cadiz this week.

“Long term we are going to have some transportation issues we need to get addressed,” said Sen. Gentile.

Gentile reminded everyone that the Severance Tax Bill (HB 375) is up before the house. The senator said that taxing horizontal wells and the horizontal drilling industry has a potential of bringing $2 billion into the state coffers over the next ten years. The senator commended the county commissioners for supporting a unified theme across eastern Ohio to keep a fair share of the money generated by industry in the region.

Thompson characterized himself as more of a skeptic on the severance tax. The representative expects that once the money is received in the state capital that the dollars returning to the counties would not meet expectations, citing that for each dollar returned to the area, 1,000 would likely go some where else in the state. Thompson preferred legislation which would keep the money in local communities and protect royalties for land owners.

Harrison County Sheriff Ronald Myers agreed with Thompson opposition to HB 375 on the grounds that it would not bring any money back into the community. The sheriff stated that local roads were rapidly deteriorating with the harsh winter. “Companies have helped with road repairs, and we want to keep it that way, but with the weather it is killing the roads.”

The sheriff stated mud from the Mark West facility on SR 151 and in Scio has been an ongoing problem. He also reminded all companies and vendors to obey traffic laws.

The sheriff reminded the pipeline companies that RUMAs must be in place with the county and townships before using roads. He also asked that they contact the township before doing any snow removal to avoid conflict with road clearing. Green Township trustee John Seleski asked that companies not use salt on dirt roads to prevent damage.

County Road Superintendent Jim Albright stated that due to a salt shortage the county would be screening hills only and that there could be snow pack on the road. He asked drivers to be cautious on county roads.

Myers also stated that theft from sites throughout the county was on the rise. He asked citizens of the county to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity and contact the sheriff’s office if they see anything out of place. Dean Palmer of Ohio Homeland Security reminded the group of the “See something say something” program. “Watch for pickers and at scrap yards when things get stolen.” Harrison County Prosecutor Michael Washington recommended keeping facilities fenced to keep people out.

In other business:

Hess stated that their company currently has two wells operating in the county and would be starting fracking at the site off airport road.

American Energy Partners announced construction had started on a second well in Moorefield Township.

Chevron announced a rig move on US 250 and increased activity on Riggs Hollow Road near Freeport.

Dan Henry, a trustee with North Township, stated that if the companies notify the township before moving equipment that they can help prepare the roads.

Harrison County ODOT Manager Chris Wood reminded companies to take down their signs at the ned of the work day and put them back up the next day.

Andrew Fineran of American Electric Power stated that there were four ongoing projects in Harrison County.

The next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 24 at 10 a.m. at the library in Cadiz.

Palmer may be reached at