from Beacon Journal, January 26, 2012
Randolph Township Trustees have organized a series of informational discussions about gas and oil drilling. Last Thursday’s overflow crowd listened to the experiences of their neighbors since Chesapeake Energy Corp began drilling in Portage County.
One Randolph resident, Steve Kitchen, said his problems began last September when Chesapeake began drilling in nearby Suffield Township. Though he lives 2 miles away from the drilling site, he reported black-gray clay and sand came from his home’s spigots, nearly clogging his toilet lines.
Water pressure dropped. Kitchen cleaned black-gray clay from his sump pump and from the filter on his water softener.
Then his water pump burned out and had to be replaced at a cost of $550.
Today his water is still dark. His water softener is plugged.
He had this warning for his neighbors: “They put the well in, and suddenly I had problems. If it can reach me, it can reach you.”
To the applause of the crowd, another resident called for a moratorium on drilling in the township. Applause not withstanding, that won’t happen. In 2004 the Ohio Legislature took control out of the hands of local communities.
No representative from Chesapeake was at the meeting to address the citizens’ concerns.
Executive Director of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, Rhonda Reda, defended the industry by explaining the drilling process to the assembled. She predicted that Ohio will get 3,800 wells drilled into the Utica Shale formation over the next five years.
Reda said that currently the industry pulls out only about 20% of underground natural gas. Thanks to increased technology, 20 years from now, the industry expects to recover 70-80 %, she explained.
But she offered no explanation of how increased technology would protect residents’ water supplies.
One might think the industry didn’t care.