ODNR OKs 3 more wells

Pittsburgh-based company to drill in Brookfield

WARREN — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has given a Pittsburgh-based company permission to drill three more saltwater injection wells in the township.

The OKs from the state came Friday for Highland Field Services, a subsidiary of Houston-based Seneca Resources, that already is building two injection wells near state Route 7 just north of Wyngate Mobile Home Park.

The three new permits — subject to 19 construction conditions — from ODNR’s Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management are for wells in the same area.

The permits are for construction, not injection, said Jane Spies, co-founder of Frackfree America National Coalition in Youngstown.

“They still need the permits to inject … those permits can be appealed, so it’s not a done deal yet,” said Spies.

“So, of course, we are still oppposing them,” Spies said.

Frackfree America and township officials have fought against the wells being placed in the township. The effort has included pushing for a moratorium on injection wells in Trumbull County and reaching out to ODNR with their concerns over increased truck traffic to potential earthquakes caused by “pressure and change to the underground infrastructure,” according to a letter sent to the state in March 2017.

Trumbull County commissioners echoed the township’s concerns in their own correspondence to ODNR around the same time.

Spies said part of the opposition now is to try to involve other communities in Trumbull County in the fight. The group already has visited Hubbard City Council and Hubbard Township trustees and plans to meet with other elected officials “to raise awareness that we need to keep Ohio from becoming a toxic fracking waste dumping ground.”

Rob Boulware of Seneca Resources said the decision to drill in Brookfield was made after a “careful review by the ODNR and after a rigorous assessment” by Seneca geologists and engineers who determined the Cambrian Strata in Trumbull County “has the proper parameters for safe injection of produced water, specifically high porosity and permeability.”

“Highland Field Services is permitting these wells for underground injection of produced brines as a comprehensive and responsible means of managing the fluid needs of its parent company Seneca Resources Corporation and that of the industry,” Boulware wrote in an email Tuesday.

A fact sheet put out by Highland states the company proposes to inject an average of 5,000 barrels and a maximum of 10,000 barrels of water per day in each well. However, the actual daily volume will vary based on injection pressure.