Thursday, December 20, 2012


The Ohio and Stark County anti-fracking community is in a celebratory mood today as a consequence of the publication of a White Paper (LINK) by ControlRisks (an independent global consultancy).

ControlRisks (LINK) defines itself thusly:
Control Risks is an independent, global risk consultancy specialising [British spelling] in political, integrity and security risk. We help some of the most influential organisations [British spelling] in the world to understand and manage the risks and opportunities of operating in complex or hostile environments.
Why are the anti-frackers more cheered up these days?

Because of the descriptive material  that ControlRisks uses in assessing the impact of the anti-fracking movement in shaping policy at the local, state, national, and indeed, international levels of government includes locals and Ohioans as being among those attaining some success against the oil gas industry.

One anti-fracker euphoric mood is expressed in an e-mail (on which the SCPR was copied) with the ControlRisks' assessments (in quote marks and bold italics), to wit:
Here is one of my favorite lines so far:  (page 4)

"The O&G industry has repeatedly been caught off guard by the sophistication, speed, and influence of anti-fracking activists"

WOW !!
 The subject line on the e-mail?

KUDOS to ALL of the anti-fracking activists !! - read what the O&G industry says about us in their "White Paper on Anti-Drilling Activity"

And there is growing evidence that local long time environmental activist Chris Borello's (a forwarder of the above-cited e-mail) of the Concerned Citizens of Stark County and her supporters are affecting, in a limiting way, the ability of the oil and gas industry to operate within the geographical confines of Stark County.

Borello cut her teeth on the Uniontown Industrial Excess Landfill (IEL) beginning in the early 1980s and continuing up to this very day as the leader of the Concerned Citizens of Lake Township (CCLT).

The local effort to stymie the oil and gas industry fracking initiative started back in the Fall of 2010 when Plain Township trustee Louis Giavasis (the godfather of the Stark County anti-fracking movement?) raised concerns about fracking and it environmental effects in his part of Stark County (LINK 1, LINK 2, LINK 3LINK 4, LINK 5 and LINK 6 [prior SCPR blogs]).

Borello and her followers were in the thick of Giavasis fight against the oil and gas industry fracking proponents.

Plain Township did pass a resolution prohibiting fracking on and under township properties (July, 2011) And trustees asked Ohio to place a moratorium on fracking in February, 2011.

Fast forward to 2012 (some two years later) and to Canton City Council.

The Stark County anti-fracking fight continues in this venue on several fronts.

On March 1st, Canton Mayor William J. Healy, II sensing an opportunity to right his city's failing financial ship declared Canton to be friendly to fracking in declaring the Hall of Fame City to also be known as The Utica Capital (LINK).

In order the underscore to the oil and gas industry that Canton was fracking friendly, he subsequently introduced legislation whereby Canton City Council would authorize the his administration to explore leasing opportunities for fracking purposes.

In doing so, he awakened the Borello and her anti-fracking allies and they have been out-in-force opposing anything remotely supporting anything helpful to the fracking industry.

The SCPR believes that the anti-frackers effectively used council's Public Speaks forum and entre to a few somewhat sympathetic council members to convince a majority of council to turn down Healy's request and Healy, seeing the handwriting on the way, withdrew the authorization request.

But Healy was not done antagonizing Borello's supporters.

A few weeks ago his administration proposed legislation whereby Canton's water treatment plant would accept leachtate from American Landfill and process it through Canton's state-of-the-art water processing facilities and thereby get one-hell-of-a-financial-deal for piping Canton's residual sludge to the landfill for a proper burial.


The problem is that the leachate would necessarily include fracking process materials dumped at the landfill by the oil and gas industry and necessarily to one degree or another be present in the leachate going through the Canton water treatment plant.

Think there might be an objection by Borello and friends?

Is there fresh water in Lake Erie?

Meaning, of course, yes they would and, in fact, have objected upsetting the Healy administrations little apple cart of having, in its mind, created a win-win scenario for the oil and gas industry, American Landfill and for the city of Canton.

The Borello inspired civic activism as been instrumental in council agreeing to put off a vote on the proposed ordinance until December 17th and then again until January 7th.

Witness this entry on the council agenda for the 17th:



It is important to note that the Concerned Citizens of Stark County (CCSC) appear to have some important sympathtics on council; namely Councilwoman Mary Cirelli and Council President Allen Schulman.

Cirelli has been with the CCSC folks from day one going back to the beginnings in Plain Township in 2010.

Schulman has been on, off, on again (apparently) and who knows where he will end up.

As the SCPR sees it, had Schulman not intervened on during a council work session on December 3rd, the agreement between Canton and American Landfill would now be an accomplished fact.

The delay has to make the oil and gas folks, American Landfill and the Canton administration just a tad nervous as to whether or not "the dream solution" to their common problem will ever be realized.

From time-to-time, Borello et al have been confused by Schulman's vacillation on the Canton water quality issue in the context of the fracking issue, and, accordingly, have questioned his reliability to support their perspective.

But the fact of the matter is that he is the key from the SCPR's way of thinking as to whether or not the Canton/American Landfill agreement gets approved even though he is not a voting member except in case of a council tie on a given issue.

The SCPR has been watching Schulman for a number of years and, too boot, yours truly has known him going back to the 1970s as a fellow member of the Stark County bar.

Schulman is a highly skilled trial lawyer and is council's most urbane member which is to say he is sophisticated, articulate, persuasive and, if he is on your side, a passionate and committed ally.

So the question is this:  will he line up with the anti-frackers?

The Report thinks he cares deeply about protecting the quality of Canton's drinking water, which by the way, also supplies communities and enterprises outside of Canton (e.g. Lake Township located in northern Stark County).

However, he will have to be convinced by the anti-fracking activists that Canton's accepting leachate from American Landfill unreasonably puts Canton's water supply at risk.  If he is not persuaded by "clear and convincing evidence, The Report sees him siding with the Healy administration because doing so helps Canton's finances which he also deeply cares about.

While basically a non-voting member of council, The Report sees him as perhaps the most listened to among all of the councilpersons by fellow his council members.

Here is a videotaped session of a council work session (December 3rd) in which Healy adminstration Service Director Warren Price addresses the matter of Canton's proposed relationship with American Landfill along with Councilwoman Cirelli's (and Schulman's) request for a delay on a vote on the question.

It is obvious that the delaying tactics have been urged by the anti-frackers to buy time to persuade a majority of council to defeat the Healy administration proposal.

Will the Borello faction be successful?

The SCPR for one would not count them out.

As the ControlRisks' White Paper says:  Groups like the Concerned Citizens of Stark County are "sophisticated [in their community activism], speedy [in responding with articulate objectors and thereby] influen[tial] [in the role of being] anti-fracking activists."

If they can turn Schulman into an out-and-out supporter, one has to think their chances are very good indeed in stopping the Canton/American Landfill agreement right in its tracks!

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