Home > Uncategorized > New Franklin may be next site for shale drilling

New Franklin may be next site for shale drilling

Copyright 2011, The Suburbanite

By KYMBERLI HAGELBERG

Editor

New Franklin is normally a quiet little town. Lately, though, the lights are on into the night while crews work on some sort of well in a field near the high school — and in the morning, Pat Boiarski and her neighbors are finding promises in their mailboxes.
According to a Southern Ohio mineral leasing company, there’s a lot of money in the ground, buried thousands of feet beneath their homes, farms and businesses.

“We got a contract that offered to pay us more than $12,000 to start drilling,” Pat Boiarski, of Renninger Road, said recently. “Just like that — about 25 hundred bucks an acre, plus royalties.”

The Boiarskis were contacted by Pleasant View Management Ohio, a company that hopes to buy up mineral rights in New Franklin and other parts of Summit County for gas exploration.

The company is interested in acquiring the rights to drill into the Utica shale formation beneath the county through a controversial process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Essentially a well is drilled to a depth of 6,000 to 8,000 feet into a shale formation, then lines are drilled horizontally to create fractures in the rock. A mixture of water and chemicals is pumped into the cracks at high pressure to release the gas.

Proponents of the drilling say fracking has the potential to revitalize economically hard-hit areas in Northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Opponents say that the chemicals used in fracking can pollute groundwater and cause air pollution, and that the construction necessary to build the wells creates too high a burden on infrastructure in rural areas where drilling often takes place.

“The contract (states) they will ship in water if we have trouble, but you’re still washing clothes and dishes and showering in it,” Boiarski said. “If they destroy the water table, will they buy my house when it’s worth nothing? And they need millions of gallons of water to do this. So where does the water come from — will they drain the Portage Lakes?”

Boiarski said she wants more information about the process before she decides, but she’s worried other people may act more quickly.

“I went to the meeting. It could be a perfect storm,” Boiarski said. “In this economy, the thing most people were asking was, ‘Where’s my check? How long does it take me to get a check?’

“People need money,” she said, “and that’s all a lot of people were thinking. That’s frightening.

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