Monday, March 14, 2011


As of this morning, the North Canton City Council (Council) agenda for tonight's meeting does not show that Chesapeake Energy (which interestingly enough,  is based in Oklahoma where yours truly sits writing this blog [visiting my middle daughter who is a Ph.D candidate at Oklahoma University] will presenting to Council.

However, it is not unheard of that agenda's get amended at the beginning of a meeting and therefore the SCPR would not be shocked to learn that was on, then off is back on again.

North Cantonians should stay alert on this matter.

The SCPR has reports that on Friday there was a great deal of jockeying around going on among Council members and the North Canton administration as to whether or not Chesapeake would be appearing.

For a number of months there has been speculation that a couple of property owners in the vicinity of North Canton's East Maple Street water well field have either signed leases or are about to sign leases that would enable Chesapeake do hydraulic fracturing wells to extract natural gas encased in deep shale deposits.

A source tells the SCPR that there have been discussions in Council about buying one or more of the properties in order to have more control over whether or not any drilling takes place.

The Report is told that Council president Daryl Revoldt had scheduled Chesapeake to speak at the meeting tonight but has backed off when is arrangement became public knowledge.

If North Canton gets into a discussion on fracking policy, it will be joining Plain Township (where the properties in question actually are located), Hartville, Alliance and Canton as they are already involved in considering policy initiatives.

The Report has spoken with Revoldt in the recent past about his take on fracking and understands that he is not exactly where other Stark County vigorous opponents of fracking (e.g. Trustee Louis Giavasis of Plain, Councilwoman Mary Cirelli of Canton and Councilman and mayoralty candidate Steve Okey of Alliance) would like him to be.  

Revoldt appears to the SCPR to be a "reasonable risk" guy on the issue.  The Report's take on Giavasis, Cirelli and Okey is that they think any risk to drinking water supplies is per se unreasonable and that they believe that there is - a minimum - a risk and therefore they oppose the fracking process.

While the North Canton adjacent properties are near a North Canton well water field, it could be that if Chesapeake can convince Revoldt (who is super influential with a majority of members on Council) that any risk of a problem in drilling poses no risk to polluting the well water, then maybe the oil and gas driller can convince North Canton not to pass legislation prohibiting fracking on the nearby property or, for that matter, on any property in North Canton.  It is unclear how any North Canton ban or limitation on fracking within certain distances of its water fields would affect the properties in questions since they are actually located in Plain Township.  However, Plain Township itself is considering legislation to ban/limit fracking.

It will be very interesting to see how this matter unfolds in North Canton as well as Alliance, Canton and Hartville.

A number of years ago, North Canton experienced a contamination problem with its East Maple Street water facility (unrelated to oil and gas drilling) and therefore has go to be especially sensitive to the fracking question.

On another matter, last week the SCPR reported that Canton finance director Karen Alger (who one worked for Janet Creighton when she was Stark County auditor) has been selected to by North Canton to replace Alex Zumbar as North Canton's finance director.  The Report has included a video in this blog which shows North Canton Councilman Jon Snyder confirming that Alger will be the appointee tonight.

Here is the Snyder video.

1 comment:

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