By Cassie Kelly | October 7, 2013
A Summit County city isn’t alone in its fight for regulations on hydraulic fracturing.
Athens city officials recently backed Munroe Falls’ court appeal to try to regulate a state permit giving Beck Energy the right to practice fracking on private property.
Late last month, council members and Mayor Paul Wiehl sided with the city, and Wiehl said local farms will be practically “wiped out” if owners are subjected to contaminated fracking waste.
“I would be done,” said Cindy Lou Bauer, of Wild Hen Farm in Perry County. “We would be done.”
She’s worried that her farm is at risk and fears what might happen if Beck Energy is allowed to drill on private property.
Kip and Becky Rondy, owners of Green Edge Gardens, an organic farm in Amesville, said they found out several years ago there was an old, abandoned well sitting on their property. They said they hired an attorney to help them claim the mineral rights to the land.
Becky said she thinks no one can drill on the land because she and her husband own its mineral rights, but many farmers in Athens County are not so fortunate.
“A lot of people feel powerless and some don’t care because they are making money,” she said.
There are currently two injection wells in Athens County, and a couple of permits are pending.
There are no regulations on the waste being pumped through them, said Councilwoman Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward.
Now that the people of Munroe Falls have decided to take this matter into their own hands, several towns are jumping on board to support the city because they are fearful of contamination as well.
“We have all seen the pictures of Colorado,” Papai said. “What was the long-term range planning when they put all the oil and gas wells in a flood zone? This only begins to highlight and get people to begin thinking about the importance of how these things are regulated.”
If fracking did occur in Athens, it could contaminate the water supply, local farms’ produce, livestock and even take away local benefits of homegrown food like the 30 Mile Meal and the Community Food Initiative, said Chris Fahl, D-4th Ward.
“For so long we’ve basically been a toilet,” said Erik Peterson, donation station manager for the initiative. “You can get a bunch of money but your land is worthless if your water is worthless.”
Read the original story in The Post, here.