Friday, December 10, 2010


UPDATE:  12/10/2010 AT 1:48 PM


UPDATE:  12/10/2010 AT 12:22 PM

Louis Giavasis and Scott Haws (Plain Township trustees) have been working for several months to get a handle on hydrofracking and what, if any, harm the procedure poses to the drinking water supply for Plain Township residents, should natural gas drilling companies obtain mineral right leases from area residents and choose to drill for natural gas encased in subsurface rock.

Hydrofracking is widely defined thusly:
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking (vertical or horizontal) is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well.
Gas drilling companies are active in Stark County obtaining mineral leases and are thought to be planning to begin hydraulic fracking in the county including Plain Township.

Accordingly, Giavasis and Haws have seized the initiative to gather information on the process in terms how Ohio regulates and what local governments can do to protect their water supplies (if it is determined that fracking threatens the safety of drinking water) and thereby lookout for the health, safety and welfare of their residents as they have a fiduciary duty to do given their status as elected officials.

All was going well with the joint effort and the two had set up a meeting for December 14, 2010 at 5:30 p.m. at township hall located at 2600 Easton NE for area residents to attend in order to get their questions answered by Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) officials and area Ohio General Assembly members (Senator Kirk Schuring as well as Representatives Scott Oelslager and Todd Snitchler).

However, all that changed between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and noon yesterday as Trustee Giavasis appeared on WHBC1480 AM's Points to Ponder (Ron Ponder, host) and made statements which were deemed by Giavasis' fellow trustee Haws,  Senator Schuring and ODNR officials to be prejudiced against the drilling companies.  In addition to Giavasis' comments on Points to Ponder, Senator Schuring told the Stark County Political Report that he understood that Giavasis has a resolution ready to go which is indicative that Giavasis has prejudged whether or not hydraulic fracking is a safe practice and that therefore a meeting at Plain Township Hall with Giavasis (as president of the Plain Township Board of Trustees) presiding would not be a proper forum for ODNR officials to engage.

Accordingly, Schuring has made arrangements for the meeting to be relocated to the Plain Community Branch of the Stark County District Library located at 1803 Schneider St NE in Plain.  Schuring says the meeting room holds about 100 persons (seated) but that there is standing room should an overflow crowd show up.

Schuring said he respects Giavasis' right to have an opinion of the efficacy of the hyrdraulic fracturing process, but in expressing that opinion on the air waves and in written form (i.e. the prepared resolution), he forfeited the right (and have state officials present) to have the meeting at township hall.  ODNR officials agreed to Schuring's request that they come to Plain on the condition that the session be moderated in a neutral setting by a neutral moderator.  According to Schuring, ODNR understands that there will be members of the public in attendance who will asking tough questions and that they (the Stark County delegation to the Ohio General Assembly and ODNR officials) do not object to same.

Giavasis' supporter Chris Borello of Plain Township and president of the Concerned Citizens of Lake Township (CCLT) disputes that the meeting has been changed and challenges Schuring's authority to effect the change in an e-mail (sent at 10:30 p.m. last night) to Executive Editor Jeff Gauger, to wit:
CANTON REPOSITORY      cc;  Akron Beacon Journal
Jeff Gauger, Managing Editor,   The Canton Respository  
Edd Pritchard, reporter covering Plain Twp.
Dear Mr.  Gauger:
WHY does the headline in the  Friday's edition of the Canton Repository state incorrectly that the meeting location for the Gas Hydro Fracking issue has been changed, when this is patently untrue?!  It appears a dirty trick is being played to thwart citizens from attending this important meeting dealing with an issue that could affect their health and welfare -  and we are truly outraged!
.I just spoke to Plain Trustee, Lou Giavasis, this evening, who will be chaIring this meeting, and he informed me that when he was called this afternoon by your newspaper reporter, Edd Pritchard, and informed that Mr. Schuring (for apparently arbitrary reasons)  took it upon himself to change the location( to a smaller venue),  Trustee Giavasis reportedly informed Edd Prichard of the paper that Mr.Schuring had NO authority to change this meeting location -that it had been called by Plain Twp. Trustees, and Mr. Pritchard was informed that it would indeed, REMAIN at the same time and place - at the Plain Twp. Hall , 2600 Easton Street, Plain Twp. on Tues. Dec. 14th at 5:30 pm.
So why does your paper's headline convey something entirely differentUnless the reader happens to read all the way down to the last sentence, they will clearly be misled and therefore show up at the wrong location Tuesday night!    We request that  the newspaper in the following edition , same page, provide an equally large headline -  that will correct this and properly inform the public to the right location - so that all that want to attend can and will know where to go. 
Chris Borello for Concerned Citizens of Plain and Lake Twp.s,

Apparently, The Repository's Edd Pritchard (a Repository reporter) got himself into the middle of the scheduling of the meeting dispute by virtue of two earlier communications he had with Borello.

The latest was on December 3rd email, to wit:
From: Pritchard, Edd <>
To: <>
Sent: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 7:24 pm
Subject: Your Schuring question


At the Nov. 23 Plain Township trustees meeting, Scott Hawes and Louis Giavasis announced plans for a work session and hearing on Dec. 14 about hydraulic fracturing. We had a brief about the meeting in the Nov. 24 paper.
During the meeting, Haws and Giavasis both mentioned that Haws had been organizing the meeting with the help of Ohio Sen. Kirk Schuring. Apparently Schuring's role was talking with ODNR and Ohio EPA officials to find people from their departments who can attend the meeting.
At this point, based on an announcement issued by the Plain trustees on Monday, Schuring, Scott Oelslager and someone from ODNR will attend the meeting to address concerns related to Chesapeake Energy and hydro-fracking.

I hope that clears up your question from you conversation with Jack Richards. Have a good weekend.


And then there was "apparently" a phone call he had with a citizen calling The Repository in which he is alleged to have said that the meeting was Kirk Schuring's idea, to wit:
Sent: Fri, Dec 3, 2010 4:24 pm
Subject: Meeting on 12/14 to discuss Fracking Ban

Hi Scott,
I received a phone call last night from a concerned citizen involved with the fracking issue, and he informed me that he got a phone call yesterday from the Canton Rep reporter, Edd Pritchard, about your meeting on the 14th..
The strange part is, Edd told him that Kirk Schuring was putting this meeting together.  What gives?  I thought you had called the meeting.  That's what your Administrator told me yesterday. Please clarify. This is about our residents' concerns and our Twp. right
 Did you get a chance to watch GASLAND yet?
We hope you will find the time, because you will see what Americans have to say about this matter, citizens that have already had up close and personal experiences, after being smoozed that fracking was just fine, all the claims that we are sure to hear.....vs. the truth of the matter...  Have a nice weekend.
Chris  (emphasis added)
It appears to the SCPR that Schuring has reasserted (?) control of the scheduling and the conduct of the meeting.  Moreover, it seems that The Report's original blog on this matter was right on the mark.  There is a dispute between the two on the issue of fracking with Giavasis having made at the very least a preliminary determination that he believes those who say that fracking threatens the fresh water supply and therefore needs to protect Plain citizens and their water supply, whereas Haws questions the reliability of the opinion out there (in the public marketplace) supporting Giavasis' statements on Points to Ponder and his planned action via Township resolution.

The Report believes that the Schuring involvement was not originally to schedule and control the meeting, but, rather, to help Trustee Haws in his efforts.

However, being the Republican allies they are; when Giavasis (likely, he along with Mary Cirelli - a Canton councilwoman, the most populist official in Stark County) made it obvious on Points to Ponder that he was going to more or less be against any fracking in Plain Township on top of having attacked Republican Governor-elect Kasich for having supported - when he was in Congress - the former Vice President Dick Cheney's Halliburton amendment (exempting hydrofracking from regulation), then the two (Haws and Schuring) got their heads together and decided that Schuring would come out as taking over the scheduling/locating of the meeting to take the matter out of Giavasis' hands.

Folks, there is nothing "neutral" about this issue.  Environmentalists like Borello have already determined that the risks in fracking are too great to be permitted to be implemented widely across America and therefore are on a national campaign to get a reversal of the Halliburton amendment and, what's more, to gain authority for locals like township trustees and village/city councils to place moratoriums on fracking operations.  Environmentalists enjoy the support of many Democratic office holders.

On the other hand, the drilling industry is working through Republican office holders to stop the burgeoning anti-fracking sentiment that is threatening to sweep the country by storm.

Scott Haws is trying to clothe himself as being some kind of objective person (as is Schuring) in the argument that is in process.  But in the opinion of the SCPR, they are not any more objective than Giavasis and Cirelli.

Hence back to the SCPR's original blog.  Giavasis and Haws (as trustees) are at polar opposites.  No matter what the two of them say for public consumption.

So where will the meeting with ODNR officials actually take place?

If at all, The Report believes that Schuring will prevail.  For he is the person (being an Ohio elected official) who has the ear of the ODNR.  All he has to do is make a phone call to the ODNR and tell them, as he has obviously done, that the meeting has been relocated and they will show up to the site he directs them too.

Sure.  Giavasis can go ahead with his planned meeting.  But do not expect Schuring, Oelslager, Snitchler and the ODNR folks to show up!

Again, despite the Giavasis and Haws protestations to the contrary, the SCPR stands by The Report's original assessment:  there is a split between Haws and Giavasis and it does threaten to unravel the years of unity that have been emanating from Plain Township Hall.

1 comment:

alkie said...

Martin...Good job on getting to the bottom of this story. In fact, by all accounts there is a new " gold rush " for gas in our area. What I have heard is that there is $35 BILLION of Chinese money financing this attack on our communities. Fracking is a clear threat to our water supplies. Go Plain trustees !! Schuring should be ashamed.
Allen Schulman