Liberty trustees made a wise decision when they tabled, hopefully permanently, a resolution requesting its attorney explore the legality of banning drilling and injection wells.
There is controversy about the environmental implications, especially on well water, and whether or not it could jeopardize the health and welfare of township residents. But trustees should look at the shale boom about to engulf Trumbull County as a solution, not a scapegoat.
On Sunday, the Tribune Chronicle began a three-day series exploring the shale boom's impact on Carroll County, about 40 miles southwest of Liberty. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the method of extracting oil and natural gas from deep shale formations, is causing a sort of gold rush in eastern Ohio. Trumbull County is said to be next because of anticipated oil deposits in the Utica Shale.
Liberty Trustees should brainstorm for ways to turn the boom into revenue that can be used as matching money for water infrastructure grants. Bringing municipal water to areas served by wells would improve citizen welfare more than drilling will risk contamination of water wells.
Trustees should open the township's welcome mat for shale industry employers to increase job opportunities for township residents. The medical benefits that come with these jobs would help improve people's health more than any injection well is going to risk it.
Trustees should find a way to use the boom to bolster its safety forces and repair its roads. This, again, would improve safety more than the shale play will risk it.
Tabling the anti-fracking resolution was the right decision.