Frackfree Mahoning Valley fighting to shut down Jackson Township - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Frackfree Mahoning Valley fighting to shut down Jackson Township drilling site

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JACKSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Frackfree Mahoning Valley has taken it's fight against one horizontal well all the way to the governor's office.

The group is taking a stand against the CONSOL Energy well on Blott Road that lies within the protected Meander Reservoir watershed, a source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands in Valley communities.

"Our concern is that, about two weeks ago, we found on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources web site a report of a split in the 20-inch diameter casing, about a four-foot vertical split," says Susie Beiersdorfer, a geologist and an environmentalist with the group. "When they were trying to plug the well back."

A spokesperson for CONSOL Energy said in a statement there was no harm done environmentally from the crack.

"On October 12, 2012, CONSOL Energy performed a well casing integrity test per regulatory requirements at our Mahoning 7 well pad in Mahoning County," says Lynn Seay, director of media relations for CONSOL Energy. "During the testing, the top joint of the well casing failed and the situation was immediately re mediated per the directive of the ODNR.

"The ODNR was satisfied with this remediation step and did not require any further testing.  There were no environmental impacts related to this event, which occurred at the ground surface."

But Beiersdorfer argues the crack is a serious threat.

"I think there's going to be people who say 'well it would be so diluted it wouldn't even show up' and 'there's oil wells around the Meander Reservoir that have been there for many years' and 'you know there have been other leaks within this area,'" Beiersdorfer said. 

Even though there is a history of hundreds of other wells in the same area, the group is determined to do everything within it's power to shut this one particular well down.

The group has even written to Gov. John Kasich, the ODNR and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine asking that they revoke CONSOL Energy's permit. They cite numerous violations by the company in Pennsylvania.

Frackfree Mahoning Valley sent 300 signatures of support along with the letter to the governor.

CONSOL Energy tells 21 News the company takes it's operating license very seriously and it has "deployed multiple safeguards that are designed to minimize the impact of our well sites, many of which exceed state and federal regulations."

But Frackfree Mahoning Valley is headed to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Wednesday determined to address the well issue and ask state officials to take a closer look.

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