News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Frackmolishing: A controversial approach to recovering vitality
The city arguably hardest hit in Ohio's industrial collapse looks at tapping the drilling boom.
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Abandoned house on Youngstown's south side. Several other derelict structures near it have been removed
Courtesy of TPR
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

“Frackmolishing” is the latest manufactured word making its way into the popular lexicon. It seems to have originated in Youngstown. And WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports on the unusual idea it was created to describe.

Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:04)


(Click image for larger view.)

Imagine 90-foot-tall drilling rigs lighting the night sky in Youngstown -- for the purpose, at least partly, of ridding the city’s urban blight.  That’s what some planners see in an idea of leasing city land for fracking.

Youngstown was in the news in the early 2000s when it mapped out a plan to tear down swaths of the city where abandoned buildings have created wastelands.  Four thousand buildings have to go--at a cost of up to 10-thousdand dollars per. Youngstown Development Director Bill Davignon. “we have been steady at committing a million dollars or more, from every available resource, for demolition for over ten years now.  And that barely keeps up with the continued abandonment.  Demolition and blight and abandonment is a moving target because we keep losing population.”

To help keep up with the cost, City Council may authorize leasing fracking rights on about 400 acres of city property and using the money to continue the tear downs. Thus the term: “frackmolishing” was born.  And how much money may be involved?  “…anywhere from $2,500 per acre to $5,000 per acre, just to sign the lease…so, it could be anywhere form a $500,000 to $2,000,000.”

Ray Beiersdorfer lives on Youngstown’s north side, a few miles from a conventional well that allowed underground gas to escape during drilling two years ago.  His house filled with fumes.  Then he was jolted by earthquakes attributed to a disposal well for waste water from fracking a few miles east.   He doesn’t want more surprises from below. “That’s what frustrates me about city council.  I’ve said to them, what have you done to educate yourselves about the environmental and health risks of fracking.  And they won’t answer the question.  The first time I asked it, they said ‘we’re not here to argue,’ and a friend of mine on Council, whom I worked with for a number of years, walked out of the room.”

Davignon says finding out what the risks really are IS the city’s plan…and that council voted to gather bids, no more. “That’s the way it was put forth: pass the legislation to authorize the city to seek proposals, but then not enter into any agreements until after the EPA concludes a study on safety issues surrounding the fracking industry. 

 Beiersdorfer, who is also a professor of geology at Youngstown State University and a scientist who has long spoken and written critically of fracking,  says there are other risks to consider, too, including the demolition process itself; and he’s worried about problems compounding.“They’re bringing in a process with a lot of environmental and health risks associated with it.  To then knock down building which also have environmental and health risks associated with the demolition.”

Davignon agrees, but says city leaders are trying to address the issues.“So we are putting in our new zoning ordinance limits on where fracking can take place. And kind of keep it in industrial areas and not residential areas.”

Beiersdorfer says he and his neighbors are still concerned, and especially about whether city planners are being realistic. “Over eleven hundred people signed an on-line petition put together by a woman on the north side.  She had moved here from New York.  Took the boards off a house and invested $60,000 of her own money fixing it up.  She has two small children.  And now she’s terrified that they’re going to be fracking right beside her; and also that her property value is going to go down.”

If Youngstown City Council does a predicted, and waits for the U.S. EPA to issue its findings about fracking, nothing further will happen with fackmolishing” until January at the earliest…when the EPA may issue a progress report…and perhaps not until 2014 when the full report is due.  


Related WKSU Stories

State renews waste well permits after 10 month review
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fracking to fight urban blight
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Environmental group says that Ohio isn't financially prepared for fracking
Monday, September 24, 2012

Fracking requires about 5 million gallons of water per well
Monday, September 24, 2012

Anti-fracking groups organize nationwide rallies
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A business EXPO that may help avoid the bust
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Three non-water ways to frack a well
Thursday, August 23, 2012

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Bridgestone exec indictments are latest step in a billion-dollar price-fixing case
Why is O.P.E.C Not investigated and charges brought against it and it's member companies? It sounds exactly the same...

Ohio's new drilling rules rely on known earthquake faults
requiring drillers to place seismic monitors when they drill within 3 miles of known fault lines. This comment really upsets me!! What good does an instrument t...

Kasich's gubernatorial ad focuses on his blue-collar roots
John Kasich is the biggest con-man in America. He will say one thing and then do the opposite. He is terribly successful at fooling the public and he is worki...

Cab drivers who refuse to drive Gay Games taxis will be replaced
the irony is that most americans distrust or hate muslims much more than they hate gays!! silly ignorant bigots-GO HOME!!!

New transportation companies come to Cleveland
Ride-sharing companies are breaking laws and regulations every day. From regulatory fee evasion to use of smartphone while driving (and even two smartphones(!) ...

Cleveland anti-poverty agency executive resigns amid financial probe
That committee won't be too independent. He plans to stay on until after the new appointee is chosen.

How can you wipe a criminal record clean?
Great article! NO CLINIC in May 2014, however, because it's graduation month for students For the next dates of the FREE Legal Clinic to help with Expungment,...

Drilling remains suspended while ODNR investigates NE Ohio earthquakes
Flaring and lights, so has all been halted? Also, smell of HS2 and sounds of an auger/drilling/water rushing underground. So, has all been halted? In light of t...

Will the Ohio River carry fracking wastewater?
Texas $ vs. WV citizens . Who will our governor listen to?

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University