City Council hears from community members about injection wells

| October 23, 2018

COSHOCTON – Coshocton City Council’s stance on the proposed conversion of Class II injection wells at the Buckeye Brine location to Class I injection wells was questioned during the public input portion of their Oct. 22 meeting.

“I think most of the public has been wondering where you stand,” said Karen O’Dell. “This has been in the public eye for a long time and the public has wanted direction from leadership that is lacking.”

O’Dell shared that she asked Councilwoman Jackie Salmans about opposing or supporting the idea and she explained that Councilman Brad Fuller drafted a letter about council opposing it. Fuller however told Salmans that he didn’t want the letter read at a recent public meeting hosted by the Ohio EPA, who regulates Class I injection wells.

“Why would you miss the opportunity to finally inform the public of your position,” O’Dell asked council. “They have been waiting and waiting for this.”

She then questioned the existence of the letter and presented a public records request for a copy of it.

Fuller assured her that the letter was indeed sent to the Ohio EPA.

“I was not tasked with the job of doing this,” Fuller said. “I initiated this and the letter was sent prior to the meeting. We took a stand.”

When O’Dell questioned why Fuller didn’t want the letter read at the meeting, his response was, “The EPA makes its decision based on criteria Buckeye Brine has to meet. The letter would not have been more impactful to their ears than their eyes.”

O’Dell disagreed with Fuller.

“It was poor judgment not to take a chance to read it,” she said. “The city has the most to lose to these wells.”

When O’Dell asked Mayor Steve Mercer where he stood on the issue he said, “I am not opposed or in support,” he said. “I support the EPA’s process for issuing permits. I believe they would not do something to endanger our water supply.”

Lisa Akers stepped to the podium next and thanked council for writing their letter. She also said she appreciated the council members who signed resolutions against the change and having signs in their yards. She then presented them with copies of a letter Dr. Jeff Poland wrote in opposition of the proposed changes at Buckeye Brine.

“I’ve taught for 35 years and I’ve always told my students you need to stand up for what is right even if you stand up all by yourself,” Akers said.

Holli Rainwater was next to approach council about the issue and encouraged them to read Dr. Poland’s letter and the discrepancies he’s found by doing his research.

Later in the meeting Mayor Steve Mercer shared some information about the city’s street levy renewal, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.

“With that levy we have been able to raise $1.7 million over the past five years and that has helped us improve 21 miles of roads,” Mercer said.

Coshocton City has 67 miles of roads that it cares for.

Recreation Director Steve Jones shared with council that the city received $61,000 in grant money to help with renovations at Hall Park this coming spring.

“I think we can make that one of our premier parks in Coshocton,” said Safety-Service Director Max Crown.

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Category: Government

About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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