Know what we are getting into


I’m writing to urge the citizens of Salem and Columbiana County to get educated on fracking and all that comes along with it. I’m not against oil and gas drilling. I understand we need energy and I understand that people have leased with their families and their livelihood in mind. I am concerned that the frenzy we are experiencing and the promise of money is clouding our judgment.

We have experienced things like this before. When I was about 10 back in early 1970s my friend and I walked down the tracks by State Street, under the overpass, until we found some neon green mud. We waded in it up to our thighs. Later I found out that was the Nease Chemical Plant. Nease Chemical was responsible for contaminating Beaver Creek with the dangerous chemical mirex. Finally, after more than 40 years, the EPA says it will begin to clean up this toxic site.

Today, I have many chronic health issues. Because of my health problems I am on total and permanent disability.

I am not alone in this county. Many of us have health problems.

Columbiana County has an above average rate of cancer for the state. I don’t know for sure that there is a connection between my health problems and Nease Chemical. But I do know that the chemicals involved in gas drilling are highly toxic. During the fracking process, hydrogen sulfide, ozone, BTEX, methane, and volatile organic compounds are emitted into the air.

Many landowners have already leased. I have no problem with that and understand their decision. Just because many of us have leased already does not mean there is nothing we can do to protect ourselves and future generations. Having all the information is an important first step.

I’m asking the citizens of Salem and surrounding communities to join me at the screening of the documentary “Triple Divide,” which depicts the experience of landowners in Pennsylvania. The event, hosted by the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, is taking place at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Memorial Building. The documentary was produced by investigative journalists with no agenda other than exposing the truth. Fracking is here and we should know as much as we can about it.

Diane Bates