Monday, March 30, 2009 at 4:18 PM
There's little argument that children's safety, saving public money, and protecting the environment, are each good causes. But some say a plan by the Mentor School Board to drill for natural gas on school property puts those goals at odds. ideastream®'s Rick Jackson reports.
The Mentor School Board has just signed a deal allowing a new natural gas well at its’ Hopkins Road service building.
The well will make money for the district, supply gas for the service building, and possibly the neighboring Garfield Elementary and Memorial Middle Schools.
In a press release, school superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes clearly noted the well meets `current’ state restrictions, and that the drilling company has an excellent track record.
Opponents of the gas well, including parents and the NorthEast Ohio Gas Accountability Project - or NEOGap - are concerned about the well’s location, just 210 feet from Garfield School. And they object to the state having sole jurisdiction over whether gas well applications get approved.
State Senator Tim Grendell agrees, and wants to to tighten Ohio’s 2004 well regarding laws. He’d prefer towns and cities make those decisions themselves.
STATE SENATOR TIM GRENDELL: “There’s factors involved, including the capacity of your fire department to deal with emergencies involving a well… whether or not you’re on an aquifer… You have to have more local input and control, into the decision making process.”
His bill could come to a legislative vote in as little as two weeks.
That’s too late for the Mentor School location, but could impact other well sites under consideration.
Regardless, NEOGAP spokeswoman Kari Matsko says her group will continue its’ educational work.
KARI MATSKO: “What NEOGAP is asking for is that a moratorium be put on any future drilling in the schools, with the Mentor school board there, at least, if and until the regulations are improved in Ohio.”
The Mentor well is to be installed once school recesses for the summer.
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