Youngstown neighbors unite against feared drilling effort - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown neighbors unite against feared drilling effort

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - A deed from the 1930's is at the center of a neighborhood's fight to keep big business from drilling for oil and gas in their backyard.

Susie Ford is a resident of the Beachwood Village Estates subdivision near McKelvey Lake, "We don't want the peace and tranquility that we have here disturbed."

Ford is one of 39 property owners served with a court summons informing them that the company Aqua Infrastructure, a water-utility company, has filed a request for the Mahoning County Common Pleas Courts to clarify an 83 year old warranty deed.

The deed relates to how some of the land in and around McKelvey Lake can be used.

Aqua Infrastructure a subsidiary of Aqua America has leased some parcels of land north of the subdivision and south of the lake to Eric Petroleum Corp., that's based in Youngstown, and residents fear oil and gas drilling is the intent.

"The nerve of them with all of their billions to come in and say we're going to come in and destroy what you have, and now we're at the mercy of the court," Ford said.

The deed from the 1930's imposed restrictions on the use of the property, including that no drilling will be permitted, and that's the issue the company wants the court to examine.

Attorney Alan Wenger representing Aqua Infrastructure says, "The misconception some of the property owners have is that this has anything to do with oil and gas development on or under their land. It does not. It only pertains to any potential of development of the deed rights of the company's land to the north of their development."

Now some of the land owners plan to hire an attorney to represent the group.

As for subdivision resident Susie Ford, she's on a fixed income and says she can't afford an attorney, but will answer the court summons herself if she has to.

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