Hubbard Injection Well Unlikely to Go Forward, Trustee Says

HUBBARD, Ohio – A company’s plan to activate a site for a Class II injection well along Hubbard-Masury Road is unlikely to go forward, a township trustee says.

Hubbard Township Trustee Richard Hernandez said he recently spoke with representatives of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Oil and Gas Division, who reported that the permit on the property is set to expire soon, and that there does not appear to be any movement at the site.

“This is good news in our case,” Hernandez said.

According to ODNR records, Bobcat LLC’s application to reissue a Class II injection well permit was approved March 16, 2023. The permits are active for one year, meaning the permit would expire in three days. An earlier permit was approved in 2018.

“He said at this point and time, he sees no movement at that location,” Hernandez said of the ODNR official. “It’s just a vacant parcel near the Interstate 80 on-ramp.”

Once the permit expires, the company would be required to adhere to new rules that ODNR has put in place as part of any new application, Hernandez said. These regulations are based on public response over the past decade related to these injection wells, which store toxic wastewater produced from oil and gas drilling operations.

Under the new rules, anyone living within a 50 to 100 foot radius of the property would need to be notified by registered mail of the company’s desire to operate an injection well. Hand-delivered notifications also would need to be sent to Hubbard Township trustees and the Board of Trumbull County Commissioners, Hernandez said.

“Then the chief [of the oil and gas division] would need to host a public hearing on location in the township,” Hernandez said. “That’s the right way to do it.”

Hernandez said he was told that since 2019, regulations over injection wells have been influenced by public input. “Those rules went from 12 to 40 pages,” he said. “In order for them to do anything, they would have to adhere to all that criteria.”

The Board of Hubbard Township Trustees appealed to ODNR in October, emphasizing their strong opposition to an injection well in the community. The letter pointed to environmental concerns, especially related to waterways such as Yankee Creek, which is a tributary to the Shenango River.

Hubbard City Council has passed a resolution in support of the township’s position, Hernandez said.

Part of the letter was a public records request related to the Bobcat project.

ODNR responded by saying the requests could not be processed because they were “ambiguous and overly broad,” Hernandez said. 

Injection wells have become a source of contention in the Mahoning Valley since it’s been determined that some of these wells have triggered earthquakes. In 2011, the Valley was rocked by a series of quakes that were caused by a D&L Energy injection well in Youngstown. The most severe of these came on New Year’s Eve, when a 4.0 magnitude temblor swept through the region. That well was abandoned shortly after that quake, and the state placed a moratorium on other wells within a 5-mile radius.

Bobcat assumed some of the assets of the now defunct D&L Energy in 2013, which operated several injection wells in the Valley.

D&L eventually liquidated its assets, and Bobcat took control over a North Lima well. The company several years ago drilled a new well in Coitsville, which was also met with opposition.

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