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Concerns over hydraulic fracturing in Salem

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SALEM, Ohio - Concerns over hydraulic fracturing prompted Salem residents to attend a meeting discussing the potential dangers of the process.

Wednesday night, a panel of some activists discussed the long term impacts they believe "fracking" has on a community.

One panel member warned, if a well does not produce as much oil and gas as expected companies tend to become more aggressive.

"Where they're putting in this money and they're not seeing the return they're doubling down on sands, on hydrochloric acids, and a lot of their proprietary fluids," said Tedd Auch with The FracTracker Alliance. "They're doubling down, and their tripling down because they need to show returns on those wells."

Another panelist questions why, she says, companies in the past have leased mineral rights at a cost much higher than purchasing the land.

"I can only surmise that the legacy cost they don't want to own this stuff once the gas is depleted," said Vanessa Pesec with Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection. "They want to be able to leave and whatever is left is left for the landowner."

An industry spokesman attended the meeting, he says some of the panelists facts are outdated and wrong.

"When you're talking about an oil and gas company that's developing a well, these companies are here for years," said Shawn Bennett with Energy in Depth. "These companies are responsible for that well from the cradle to the grave, so they are the ones responsible for it in the beginning and all the way until it's shut down."

All the information discussed was noted by some city council members, who are currently considering a proposed ordinance restricting oil and gas wells to M2 industrial zoning districts and prohibiting them from being within 500 feet from any existing building or structure. The goal is to keep companies from drilling wells near homes.

However, where companies drill is a decision ultimately made by the state.

"Why should we try to restrict it when we're just kidding the people in Salem that an ordinance on the books doesn't mean anything," said Councilman Clyde Brown.

"It's our way of making a statement that we believe it's just responsible to do that kind of operation in an area that zoned for that type of activity," said Councilman Dave Nestic.

The legislation will go back to council for readings and a final vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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