Group calls for closer look at earthquakes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Just two days after a series of minor earthquakes in Poland Township, a group opposed to the practice of hydraulic fracturing is now demanding answers.

The group Frack Free Mahoning Valley met reporters at Youngstown City Hall Wednesday afternoon.

Youngstown State University Professor Ray Beiersdorfer thinks the 2012 earthquakes occurring near a disposal well in Youngstown and those happening this week near a series of production wells in Poland Township can’t be coincidence.

Fifth minor earthquake recorded

“There seems to be something about the geology that’s really throwing up a red flag that we shouldn’t be doing either of these activities in this vicinity,” said Beiersdorfer.

This week, seismologists recorded five minor tremors which were centered in the area of the Carbon Limestone Landfill. The area is where Hilcorp Energy is installing and operating seven wells.

Beiersdorfer said it is an area that’s never experienced earthquakes before and sited a New York Times article reporting that the earthquakes occurred while fracking was taking place.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Public Information Officer Mark Bruce said it is would be “premature to draw conclusions” about the earthquakes or the drilling without analyzing the data.

Bruce said the state is working with Hilcorp to review its drilling practices and any potential connections to this week’s quakes. All activities at the landfill have been suspended pending the state review.

“We are going to take the time to do the appropriate work, to do the due diligence work to make sure we find an answer that is appropriate. That we find an answer that has scientific facts,” said Bruce.

Members of the group Frack Free Mahoning Valley want those answers made public.

There is also concern about the potential impact earthquakes have had on the landfill, including its liner. The liner protects underground water systems in the area, and Beiersdorfer says that needs to be thoroughly inspected as well.

Managers with the Carbon Limestone Landfill said landfills are built to withstand earthquake tremors. 

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