Youngstown gas drilling ordinance moves to third reading - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Youngstown gas drilling ordinance moves to third reading

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An ordinance that would allow Youngstown's Board of Control to lease the city's mineral rights to energy companies that want to drill for oil and gas will now go to a third reading before city council votes on it.

The decision was made during the pre-council finance committee meeting because one council member was absent.

Councilman Mike Ray hopes the third reading will buy some time to convince the administration and council to change language in the ordinance that would allow the city to seek out proposals and then bring those proposals back to council before a contract is drawn with a company.

"Let's make sure that we negotiate a lease that has all of our interests. The road use agreements. Even things as prevailing wage for laborers and things like that. They're going to do it on city property. We want to make sure we're addressing those things," Ray said.

The gallery in council chambers was standing room only filled with anti-fracking activists for a second meeting in a row. State Senator Joe Schiavoni spoke before council to assure everyone that the current Ohio laws are very strict when it comes to drilling.

"There's increased liability insurance if something does occur so that homeowners are protected. There's pre-drilling water testing that has to go on at the well," Schiavoni said.

Councilwoman Annie Gillam says she is for the drilling as long as safety issues are addressed. "We always have accidents. But if there are some things that our safety forces will have to deal with they should be aware of every problem that they'll deal with," Gillam said.

Mayor Chuck Sammarone hopes that whatever royalties the city makes through gas drilling will go toward tearing down more vacant structures and help with urban development.

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