ODNR sends inspectors to examine earthquake site - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

ODNR sends inspectors to examine earthquake site

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POLAND TWP., Ohio - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has sent oil and gas inspectors to Poland Township, where five earthquakes were recorded this week.

"Our division of oil and gas has inspectors on the ground that have been out to the site several times after the events happened and then have gone back out a couple of times," Mark Bruce says, ODNR spokesperson.

Hilcorp Energy Company was asked to suspend all operations at its well near the epicenter of these tremors until further notice earlier this week. Hilcorp says it plans to work with ODNR.

One of Hilcorp's multiple wells near the epicenter of the earthquakes was in the process of fracking at the time of Monday morning's 3.0 magnitude tremor.

"There was a hydraulic fracturing operation happening on one of the pads in the area," Bruce says. "Exact time frame and what was happening when, that's is all part of the data that we will be examining here moving forward."

Bruce says ODNR has 13 seismometer stations that monitor Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Gathering data from the devices and the details of Hilcorp's operations, including data at the time of early Monday morning earthquake, are the first steps of the state's review process.

Members of Frack Free Mahoning Valley gathered outside Youngstown City Hall Wednesday afternoon to speak out against fracking in the area. Youngstown State University Professor Ray Beiersdorfer joined the group and called for ODNR to make the information it gathers from Hilcorp public record. 

Area oil and gas experts say they've not seen a credible study linking fracking to earthquakes.

"We have a lack of data for that here in the state of Ohio," Mike Chadsey says, spokesperson for the Ohio Oil and Gas Association. 

Chadsey says the association agrees with ODNR's decision to ask Hilcorp to halt its Poland Township operations until further studies can be done.

How much time the state may need to examine the seismic data is up in the air, as Bruce says ODNR has a number of questions and no specific timeline to complete its review.


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