Wednesday, April 13, 2011


While she was not permitted to speak because N.A.V.E. (Neighborhood Associates Empower - the sponsor of last night's Candidates Night at the McKinley Grand) would not allow her to on account of the organization not receiving back a response from Mary Cirelli she would be attending, her presence was certainly in attendance.

Along with Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis Canton, Councilwoman Mary Cirelli stands as one of Stark County's foremost opponents of hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking) to get at natural gas deposits encased in rock some 8,000 feet below the surface.

The process involves injecting a solution of chemicals (many of which are deemed hazardous to human health) and sand under high pressure down a well shaft vertically and then horizontally to fracture the rock so that the natural gas can be recovered.  The chemical laced solution is then brought back to the surface.

The concerns center on the integrity of the casing through which the solution is conducted downwards passing through the drinking water table, the disposal of  recovered chemical-ladened waste water, the damage done underground by the violence of the pressurized solution and the escape of gases into the air that we all breathe.

It was surprising to the SCPR that the fracking issue had such a prominent place in the discussion among candidates.

Fracking was not the most predominant issue presented, but it probably ranked second.

The main issue, of course, was the position of candidates stopping the deterioration of Canton's neighborhoods and restoring business and jobs to Canton proper.

Nontheless, Fracking appears to a "an elephant in the room" sort of issue.  And, it is giving Canton Law Director Joe Martuccio fits.  He tells The Report that Councilwoman Cirelli has been steadfast in her insistence that that he write an ordinance prohibiting fracking in Canton a la Buffalo, Pittsburgh and other localities across the fracking belt of America.

Martuccio is sympathetic, however, being the lawyer he is, his take on the state of the law in Ohio is that localities have been shut out of regulating fracking or any kind of oil and gas drilling.

Readers will recall that Trustee Giavasis (Plain) backed off his resolution to ban fracking in Plain when local attorney William G. Williams (who has a close association with the oil and gas industry) suggested to him that doing so could subject the township to huge liabilities.  Instead, Giavasis got his fellow trustees to pass a resolution supporting a moratorium on drilling.

It struck the SCPR that a number of candidates for Canton City Council are very intense in their opposition to the issue.

Here is a video of the view of council candidates who were asked the fracking question.

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