Saturday, May 14, 2011


It is what Chris Borello and her fellows working in the Concerned Citizens of Stark County would have preferred, but the North Canton City Council (Council) has (except for Councilman Pat DeOrio who says he has a conflict-in-interest on and therefore recused himself) signed off on a resolution forwarded to various statewide officials asking that "fracking" (horizontal fracturing) be placed in moratorium status until more is known about the risks to water purity posed by the process.

In doing so North Canton joins Canton and Plain Township in calling for a moratorium.  It could be that Alliance, Louisville and Hartville will join the effort in coming months as discussions have been going on among councilpersons in those Stark County political subdivisions.

North Canton's concern (see a previous blog) comes from information that land (actually in Plain Township) adjacent to its East Maple water well field have been leased to an oil and gas drilling interest with the idea that the company contemplates commencing a fracking operation to recover natural gas from the Marcellus Shale thought to underlie the leased property.
Horizontal hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) for natural gas in a formation known as the Marcellus shale is a process by which a vertical hole is drilled to about 8,000 feet below the surface and then turned horizontal for a distance (limited by the size of the lease) and then injected with a high pressure mix of sand and chemicals (some of which are hazardous) and, of course, water to fracture rock which encases natural gas thereby release the gas for collection.

The Stark County Political Report is skeptical that any Stark County units of government will go the route of governments in others states (e.g. New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia) and ban fracking.
In 2010 and a few years earlier the Ohio General Assembly in the combo of Senate Bill 165 (2010) and House Bill 278 effectively took away local government jurisdiction to deal with drilling issues within their geographical areas.  Local legislators (of both political parties, past and present) such as Scott Oelslager, Stephen Slesnick, Todd Snitchler, Kirk Schuring, John Hagan and William J. Healy, II supported the state power grab over drilling issues from Stark's localities.

Accordingly, local legal officials feel and are advising their jurisdictions that localities have no power to regulate and if they do so they could be incurring legal liability to property owners affected as well as to drilling companies.

The SCPR provides the following copy of the actual North Canton resolution for readers of The Report to read:

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