Poland 'SASS' Group to Hold Fracking Forum
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A group of citizens in Poland Village concerned about the use of hydraulic fracturing are stepping up efforts to inform the community about its possible ramifications.
Sisters Against Subterranean Sludge, or SASS, a group founded by neighbors who live near Poland Forest, is hosting a forum March 29 a 6 p.m. at the Parish Center of Holy Family Church.
Jeffrey Dick, chairman of Youngstown State University's geology department, Jill Kriesky, of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and Mary Helen Smith, director of environmental health from the Mahoning County Board of Health are among the featured speakers.
SASS is concerned about oil and gas companies using hydraulic fracturing in order to tap natural gas reserves in the Utica shale, and worried that these energy companies could drill in Poland.
"We don't think it's a good idea to have hydraulic fracturing taking place at this time because of the unresolved issues of the present technology that an cause harm to people and the environment," SASS member Rachel Faerber-Ovaska said in an email.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which large volumes of sand and water are injected under high pressure into drill sites so it could break up tight rock formations thousands of feet below the surface.
Hydraulic fracturing fluid also contains chemical additives that could be harmful to the environment and water supplies if not handled properly.
Faerber-Ovaska adds that the group wants to cultivate more information about the subject, and this forum Thursday is part of a process to help educate the community about the industry.
"At the same time, we recognize the pressing need for energy and money that drive the industry," she says. "Thus, we think the best we can do is help present the whole picture so that the risks are known and our community can make informed and careful decisions. Up until now, its seems that mostly the partiers with a financial interest have been presenting the information."
Village officials were considering leasing land in Poland Forest to oil and gas companies interested in drilling there. But last week Village Solicitor Anthony D'Apolito stated that leasing mineral rights in the forest would constitute a commercial use for the land. Poland Forest's limits the land for park purposes.
D'Apolito said that should village council lease the mineral rights to energy companies, it would violate the terms of Poland Forest's deed.
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