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Concerns over gas flares

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POLAND TOWNSHIP, Ohio - As the drilling for oil and gas increases in the Valley, you may spot flames coming from stacks at drilling sites.

A video YouTube by Frack Free America shows flaring taking place at a drilling site just across from Poland Township Park.

Tom Stewart Executive Vice president with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association says flaring is the safest way to handle the release of methane gas to test the flow of a well and it's required by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Flaring is a process here you are testing a well for productivity or you have to work on a well and you have to take care of residual natural gas that reaches the surface," Stewart said.

John Williams with Frack Free America and Frack Free Mahoning agrees that burning is better than a direct release into the atmosphere of methane. But he is concerned that since pipelines and processing plants have not been built, the oil and gas companies will flare and release the natural gas as a regular process to retrieve the more profitable wet gasses.

He cites Ohio Revised Code which allows companies to do this. "That methane they're releasing it into the air, first its energy our country needs, and secondly its royalties the landowners aren't getting," Williams said.

But the Ohio Oil and Gas Association says there are no royalties because no one is making money from it.

Stewart said the companies are watching out for the landowner's interests by producing the wells. Ohio's Oil and Gas Association says if there is significant amounts of natural gas, companies will build the infrastructure or pipelines and processing plants to capture that natural gas.

They say the flaring will take place for a short time. However residents who have concerns say the Ohio Revised Code allows for flaring for 10 days or more if there is no infrastructure to process the natural gas.

They fear the peace of the park will be shattered with the roar of natural gas flaring.

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