Dozens protest two proposed injection wells in Brookfield
BROOKFIELD — More than three dozen people — most holding signs with slogans about the dangers of fracking — attended a rally Thursday afternoon at the Brookfield Center green to protest two proposed injection wells in the towship.
The rally, which drew approximately 40 people, was organized by the Youngstown-based Frackfree America National Coalition. Highland Field Services LLC, a Pittsburgh subsidiary of Houston-based Seneca Resources Inc., is planning to drill two wastewater injection wells north of Wyngate Mobile Home Park, where at least 400 people live.
Rob Boulware, manager of stakeholder relations at Highland Field Services LLC, said he understands the issue of fracking is a very passionate subject for people.
“I would urge folks to take the time to go through and find some of the facts,” Boulware said. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there.”
Trumbull County Commissioners and Brookfield trustees have sent letters to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil and Gas, opposing the wells. The public has until Tuesday to submit their own comments to the ODNR.
A petition against the injection wells was available at the rally for attendees to sign and by 2 p.m. there were approxmately 500 signatures. The petition also will be sent to the ODNR, organizers said.
Bill Sawtelle, 67, of Brookfield, said he didn’t understand why the injection wells would be placed in such a populated area, especially where many residents still rely on well water that could potentially be contaminated. While the Wyngate Mobile Home Park uses city water, the road from state Route 7 to the injection well site could see dozens of trucks going past the park 24/7, Sawtelle said.
“We’re a small little town,” Sawtelle said. “People are so frustrated that people from other communities are joining in.”
Sawtelle said he suffered a heart attack last year, and it was fortunate the paramedics reached him when they did. If the injection wells go into production, the trucks’ egress area would be on state Route 7, which is where the township’s main fire station is located. The increased truck traffic potentially slowing or hindering emergency responders is a concern shared by many at the rally.
Judith Puskar, 67, of Brookfield, is a retired schoolteacher and was one of many people at the rally holding signs depicting the dangers of fracking and injection wells. Puskar said she was at the rally because she was aware of the 2015 incident involving injection wells owned by Kleese Development Associates in Vienna and the resulting pollution.
“I’m here because I want the facts,” Puskar said. “We don’t need more injection wells in Trumbull County.”
Traci Downie, 78, of Masury, hand wrote a nine-page letter that she will send to Steve Irwin of the ODNR, Boulware, Trumbull County Engineer Road Use Maintenance Agreement coordinator Jack Simon and other local government officials voicing her concerns about injection wells. Among the many issues addressed in the letter are man-made earthquakes, traffic and abandoned coal mines.
Jim Hennessy, 74, of Brookfield, has lived in the area for about 40 years, and said there wasn’t much time to organize the rally since news of the planned injection wells started spreading just three weeks ago.
“We don’t know if we’ll stop it, but we’re trying,” Hennessy said of the rally.