East Palestine debates drilling

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Since last year, East Palestine Village Council members have been working to do horizontal drilling in town.

The concern among many in the community is that fracking could cause issues with the environment.

On Monday, a debate on the issue took place inside the municipal building.

“My feeling is it’s the responsibility of city council to provide information to city residents,” one man in the crowd said.

Village Council member Don Elzer is in support of the drilling. He said if this eventually passes, it could bring in millions of dollars to the community, which would be split among the village and property owners.

“It was just a good way to boost our economy,” Elzer said.

Village Council was in talks with shale oil and gas companies on drilling. Five weeks ago, council approved legislation to move forward with the project.

But, at the last meeting, the vote was rescinded, stopping any progress on the drilling.

“Disappointing. There was a lot of work went into it. We don’t have many opportunities to bring $8 million to the city,” Elzer said.

Those against the proposed measure said they are glad the drilling was stopped before it started.

“That’s my property. It’s not city council’s property,” said resident Tina Kosman.

Another concern opponents have is the fracking that comes along with the horizontal drilling. And they said the council has ulterior motives.

“It’s the environmental concerns. I want my daughter, my son to see clean air, clean water,” Kosman said.

The Ohio Ethics Commission looked into concerns raised that council members would unfairly benefit from such a project, but no wrongdoing was found by the commission.

If the drilling is eventually approved by the village council, Ohio law states at least 65 percent of people in the community have to agree to the measure before everyone would have to participate, and that’s only if the oil and gas company can prove a number of factors to the state.

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