Appalachian Basin

Portage County officials tour new Consol Energy well pad & rig

Today, Energy in Depth joined several Portage County elected officials, first responders and Rootstown Township Trustees on an informational meeting and rig tour with Consol Energy.

Consol Energy has one rig running in Rootstown, Portage Co. and as Coordinator of Community Relations Miranda Kessel shares with us the entire Consol Energy team first goal is to be a good neighbor.

Right now we are in Portage County today and we are conducting a rig tour with local community stake holders that includes first responders and local elected officials. – Miranda Kessel

Before anyone was allowed on the rig everyone one in the group viewed a 20 minute safety video that explained Consol’s safety regulations and procedures and completed a Hazard Training Video Memory Check – that’s right there was a test in the end.

Then it was off to the site.

The entire tour took over 30 minutes from start to finish as the staff who was working on the pad explained how Consol was implementing the rules and regulations that Ohio has in place to protect human health and safety.

After the tour, Energy in Depth talked with Portage County Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio about what she saw and heard.

I was nothing short of impressed and amazed, very, very impressive site and they are so safety conscience. – Commissioner Tommie Jo Marsilio

Consol’s project in Rootstown is a $12 million dollar investment project.

Safety, everything is safety related that is their number 1 priority and it showed. – Rootstown Township Trustee Joe Paulus

Despite this committment to safety, and the multi-million dollar investments being made which is bringing Ohio jobs and increased government revenues, there is still a small but loud minority of folks in Portage County who do not want to see development take place. These folks make up a group called concerned citizens of Portage County. They are by their own definition loosely affiliated with other anti-development groups in Ohio.

The following is a blurb about them:

We are a grassroots collection of citizens of Ohio (mostly residing in Portage County) who have been educating ourselves about shale gas and oil extraction and concerned about the cumulative community impacts on our health, life, and property values. We’re also very concerned about all decisions regarding this one industry being made by an unelected body (ODNR) who do not live in our communities. We have been seeking information from many different sources and have no motivation other than the well-being of residents of our communities.

A couple of things jump out at you when you read that paragraph. First, “who have been educating ourselves about shale gas and oil extraction.” An education is good and everyone should give them credit for trying to learn about natural gas development. But as you look at the links on their site you find links to other anti-development websites like NEOGAP and Josh Fox’s Gasland. There are no links to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources or the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. There are no links to videos explaining the process or any other objective source of information.

The other statement that pops out is “all decisions regarding this one industry being made by an unelected body (ODNR) who do not live in our communities”. A couple of comments here, the ODNR enforce rules put in place by the members of the Ohio General Assembly who are elected by their constituents. Also, if those members of the concerned citizens of Portage County do not think that the staff of the ODNR does not “live in their communities” – where do they think they live? One of The Northern Ohio field office of the ODNR is in Uniontown which is in southern Summit County just a stone toss away from southern Portage County.

Portage County is primed and ready to see the benefits of natural gas development. This area has a been longing for something that would serve as a game changed since Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center, formerly known as the Ravenna Training and Logistics Site and commonly known as the Ravenna Arsenal has seen better days. With companies like Consol Energy following strict federal and state regulations and keeping to the tightest safety rules Portage County will experience that game changer.

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