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Mill Creek MetroPark Board: We have had no contact with drillers

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Fracking has become a controversial issue over the past couple of years. So much so, some people are crusading to stop all forms of it.

At a Mill Creek MetroParks board meeting Monday night, several anti-fracking demonstrators were demanding answers. Answers board members say they've already been providing for months.

"We have had no contact with anybody regarding anything having to do with any shape or form with well drilling," said Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks Clarke Johnson.

Some people had concerns over possible drilling being done near the McGuffey Wildlife Preserve.

"Are you permitting the well to be slant drilled under the preserve? Have you been to the preserve? It's a beautiful place and right next to it there's devastation. I have photos taken of the devastation right next to the preserve," said Chris Khumprakob of Youngstown.

Board members say they can't control what is going on on private property.

"They own the property. They are moving on the property. We can't stop people from doing. If it's zoned and planned, I'm sure they had to get a permit from the city. They did and they're moving forward," Khumprakob said.

Several of the concerned citizens said they are worried about current mineral leases on park property being bought and sold by oil and gas companies. Board members say some of the park property was donated by private citizens decades ago who already leased their mineral rights.

"The mineral rights were assigned to those people and to those companies. We inherited that. We cannot change or amend. Our attorneys have told you that and that's where we sit," Johnson said.

Board members say they have nothing to hide.

"We have signed no contracts with anybody to frack the park. That's it. I don't know why you keep jumping us, but it's getting crazy," said Mill Creek MetroParks Board Member Louis Schiavoni.

Concerned citizens say they are just trying to watch out for the park they love and they want it to be preserved. The board says they are trying to do the same thing.

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