I just want to say that fracking can do some good for a community. It can help build community and join people together. Why fracking has been bringing members of my town of Vienna, Ohio closer together since April of 2015. That is when one of our residents had his pond and wetlands polluted. This chemical spill was courtesy of his neighbor at the Kleese farm. The farm contains five injection wells operated by KDA (Kleese Development Associates). KDA wasn’t willing to share their profits with their neighbor but they did share the leak from their wells. The leak is thought to have been going on for six months. It has not been established exactly how many gallons of chemicals leaked into the pond and wetlands (2,000 gallons was the first guess). This from the Youngstown Vindicator will give you an idea of how much chemical waste comes to the Kleese farm for storage, “In raw numbers, the five Vienna wells injected about 19 million gallons underground during those six months, according to Vindicator calculations based on about 454,215 barrels of waste the EPA said KDA wells received.
The Western Pennsylvania counties Butler, Lycoming and Armstrong and a few others have decided to build community with Vienna, Ohio. They do this by sharing the chemical waste from their Marcellus wells. Their semi tanker trucks travel across the state line and create a lot more traffic in our little township. While PA. shares their waste and traffic they don’t share any of the profits from their Marcellus wells with the citizens of Vienna. Well, (pun intended) they do make the Kleese family rich but they were already one of the wealthiest families in Vienna.
This spill was able to bring the residents of Vienna together in a township meeting. Hundreds of residents attended and got to share with their neighbors. What they were sharing was fear. None the less, fracking was helping build community. Tremors were also recorded last September near injection wells in Weathersfield Township. That is another example of the fracking industry bringing one of our neighboring communities together. I could also say the same about the dozens of earthquakes reported in the Youngstown area. The fear of fracking in our valley did some good as it helped establish FrackFree Mahoning, The good folks at FrackFree Mahoning have been unsuccessfully trying to pass an area bill to ban fracking in Youngstown. All those earthquakes have not been enough to get the voters of Youngstown to join together in a community to protect their hometown against the fracking industry. Fracking has been able to build community between the pipefitters union and Regional Chamber. Those two are strange bedfellow because the Regional Chambers around the country are made up of businessmen who tend to be anti-union. Locally, they were able to put that aside and come together in a common cause to put profit before people and support fracking.
Because of the April leak, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources ordered five injection wells operated by Kleese Development Associates, Warren, to cease operations. While the wells at the Kleese farm are not operating KDA is beginning to drill a new injection well a couple miles from their farm in another Vienna location. This location is near the Youngstown Airport on Rt. 193. Once again the fracking process was able to bring Vienna residents together. Last week protesters came together on Monday near the Rt. 193 drilling site, to speak against an injection well being located there. Once again fracking can be thanked for creating community. This time it created it between Vienna residents and members of FrackFreeMahoning. This organization had also come to help Vienna residents in April at the spill site and at our township meeting. I had to work last Monday so I could not attend the Vienna protest on Rt. 193. The day after that I was not working so I was able to participate as part of a national day of action called Hands Across Our Land. There was a nice turnout of people who held hands and signs beside the Spring Common Bridge (Mr. Peanut Bridge) near the B-and-O Station in Youngstown, Ohio. Most of those who turned out on that Tuesday were members of FrackFreeMahoning. They held signs against fracking expansion in our area. They expressed their concerns about fracking being a threat to public health and safety.
I joined those at the bridge because I believe in their cause of ending fracking in our valley. I talked to a few people at the bridge that had been at the protest in Vienna the day before. I thanked them and had some who lived in Youngstown thank me for coming from Vienna to join them. I felt like FrackFreeMahoning had done plenty of reaching out to Vienna residents since April so it was high time some of us Vienna residents should give back. It was also nice to get together with other like minded environmentalist at an event that wasn’t a spill or quake. Many at the Youngstown event left when it was over and went to another protest against fracking in Pulaski, PA. See there, fracking is once again helping to build community after community.
Jesse Colin Young: “Ridgetop”
“Only when the last tree has died,? the last river been poisoned,? and the last fish been caught? will we realize we cannot eat money.” —Cree Proverb