Injection well/fracking presentation held in Richland Township

The Richland Township Trustees hosted an informational meeting on a proposed injection well eyed at a local intersection.

More than 50 people, including residents and elected officials, viewed a presentation about the issues surrounding brine injection wells, put on by the Freshwater Accountability Project and the American Geophysical Union, and by Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice, a scientist with Bennett & Williams Environmental Consultants Inc.

Trustees Kathy Kaluger and Rick Ferrell held the presentation before a crowd at the St. Clairsville recreation center Wednesday evening. Trustee Greg Reline was not present.

The New Jersey-based Omni Energy Group LLC had submitted an application with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, for an injection well proposed at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Ohio 331. Residents of nearby Pickering Road have expressed worry about the expected heavy traffic, fears of contamination and health risks, and the presence of numerous county government sites, educational facilities, residences and businesses around the intersection.

Richland Township and local bodies, including the Belmont County Board of Commissioners, have sent letters opposing the well to the state. The trustees have also acted to obstruct the use of Pickering Road. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources continues the permit review process.

Afterward, the activist group held another meeting in opposition to the practice of fracking in general, and to the proposed ethane cracker plant that may come to Dilles Bottom.