Broadview Heights fracking fuels concern for homeowners

More than 80 oil and gas wells in one city

BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio - With more than 80 oil and gas wells operating in Broadview Heights since Senate Bill 278 went into effect in 2004, residents have had to deal with fracking, natural gas odors and loud trucks and drilling sites.

Many of them have also reaped the rewards from dividends paid out by the energy companies drilling in their neighborhoods.

The balance among those residents currently receiving money from wells, those whose mineral rights were sold before they purchased their land, and the many residents who have ecological and home value concerns have not helped neighborhood harmony.

One group, Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods, has taken it upon themselves to educate others to what they feel are the dangers of an industry in a residential area. Michelle Aini is the co-founder of MADION. She got involved after her backyard ended up as a drill and fracking site. MADION recently presented a bill of rights to city Broadview Heights council.

"This is insanity. With our bill of rights in Broadview Heights, that I hope and implore that the city council will pass this, our bill of rights is saying we as community in Broadview Heights want our civil rights of clean air, clean water and a safe environment back. We deserve that, we're Americans, these are our basic civil rights," said Aini.

For Broadview Heights mayor Sam Alai, he feels he and council have had their hands by the state of Ohio. Broadview Heights had laws in effect to ban the current drilling before Senate Bill 278 was passed.

Educating residents is his main concern until Ohio laws change. Lack of intent to drill and notification by the energy companies and residents is a top frustration for Alai.

"90 percent are on private property. We aren't party to their contacts or know when they going in until they come in (to Broadview Heights building department) so that is the real issue we see. Disclosure for new home buyers is a huge concern for the city," said Alai.

If there is any good news for Broadview Heights residents it's that there isn't much acreage in residential areas left for more wells. Tollis Parkway home owners, however, are about to have one in their neighborhood. Broadview Heights received documents for a plat by Duck Creek Energy, Corporation on April 24 for oil and gas well drilling.

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