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Belmont County

Belmont County

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Despite big financial deal, residents concerned about fracking in Piedmont Lake area

Updated: Friday, April 18 2014, 05:35 PM EDT

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio – A huge contract is bringing nearly $100 million to local communities.
It's also bringing controversy.
The area in question is around Piedmont Lake and spreads into both Harrison and Belmont Counties.
People who live in those areas have serious concerns about what's going to happen around them.
Many traveled long distances to make one last-ditch effort, speaking out against the lease agreement between the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and Antero Resources.
Eight people spoke about the lease – all were against it.
John Morgan is a concerned Belmont County resident who is afraid of what fracking will bring when it begins in the next several months.
“It's a relatively depressed economic area,” Morgan said. “A lot of people who are very persuaded by the money, understandably, but it's a short-term financial fix, and a short-term energy fix because these wells go into decline within months of when they've been drilled.”
But the MWCD said much of what they hear simply isn't fact, noting that they've been taking the public's concern into consideration since negotiations began, including issues about noise.
“Parts of the lease include control sound control are as result of the input we received back in January,” said Darrin Lautenschleger, a MWCD representative.
Sound pollution is only part of the problem if you ask Theodore Voneida, who's had a cottage on the lake for 50 years.
“We enjoy fishing and boating,” Voneida said. “My wife's dowry when we married 57 years ago was an aluminum canoe which we still have at the lake so we canoe, boat and fish, and we hike and swim.
He fears all of that will be put in jeopardy.
“The lake is surly going to be polluted, it will have a very adverse effect on swimming and fishing, and we know the air is polluted,” he said.
Meanwhile, the district believes the benefits are a plentiful and outlined its intensions to use the new multi-million dollar income from oil and gas by re-investing in the community.
“An assessment or a property tax cut on property tax owners in our region,” Lautenschleger said.
It’s a decision that won't button up residents’ concerns.
They intend to take the issue to court.

It came with a signing bonus of $15,000 per acre, encompassing more than 6,300 acres, a total of $94. 5 million, plus a 20 percent share of royalties.

Despite big financial deal, residents concerned about fracking in Piedmont Lake area

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