Drilling activists draw a hard line

Drilling activists draw a hard line by Edd Pritchard, July 21, 2012, CantonRep.com
Lincoln moved his family to Stark County from Massachusetts. He loves Ohio, the outdoors and hunting. He dislikes being labeled an environmentalist because of his worries about possible contamination from drilling and efforts to protect the home he and his wife built for their children. “Everywhere this industry goes, there are contamination events,” Lincoln said. He cites reports about lawsuits that end with out-of-court settlements and gag orders telling people not to talk. Lincoln realizes the need for gas and oil. He knows some people want to lease their mineral rights, and said he respects their right to lease. But he believes the oil industry ignores the rights of people opposed to drilling. … “You can’t let a business run rampant and take away the rights of others.” … Plain Township resident Sue Garver learned about drilling by routinely attending township trustees meetings. A retired teacher, she listened and then began doing her own research. “The information I’m getting is different from what I’m seeing in the advertising,” Garver said. “I see an industry not taking responsibility for any of the events that have occurred.” The information is packaged into slick advertising about cheap energy that leaves us with clean air and water. “Sometimes I think we’re all so busy that we’d rather believe the advertisements then listen to our guts,” she said. … “Why are corporate interests exceeding community rights?” Paone asked. “Nobody is listening to us. I want to make sure we do this right.” Paone is worried drilling could affect his water well and his property. If his water well is contaminated by methane or another chemical, would his property become worthless? “Your lifetime work has been poured into your home, your property, and now you have a problem that you didn’t create,” Paone said. Drilling supporters are quick to point out that nature sometimes allows gas and oil to migrate into water wells. … Ohio has some of the nation’s toughest regulations, industry groups contend. But Bruno counters wear and tear causes concrete and steel casings to deteriorate. Eventually the wells can leak. And what about the minor earthquakes, she asks? Can the shaking cause pipelines to break? “What damage is being done underground that we don’t know about?”

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