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Drilling Proposal Near Akron Water Supply Generates Concern

city of akron proposed drilling area.PNG
City of Akron legislative proposal
The area outlined in red, on the south end of LaDue Reservoir, is what the city of Akron proposes leasing for oil and gas exploration. The dots represent active wells according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. Blue indicates permitted wells, green indicates producing wells, and yellow indicates drilling sites.

Akron City Council is considering a deal with a newly formed company that would allow the company to drill for oil and natural gas on land near LaDue Reservoir, which holds the city’s water supply.

Public service Director Chris Ludle initiated the idea of leasing 475 acres to DP Energy Auburn, LLC for fracking. Under the deal the city would receive a one-time payment of $237,500 and a 15% royalty payment on all oil or gas extracted. (see the full proposal below)

At least one local group is speaking out against the idea. Akron Democratic Socialists of America co-chair Heather Hillenbrand says they are concerned about the long-term effects of fracking.

Heather Hillenbrand of Akron DSA's disapproval of the fracking

“The company that’s doing this may not exist in the future, and if they do, they may not have to clean it up," Hillenbrand said. "We’re going to be stuck with this forever - this is our water. There’s no not having water; we cannot live without water. We’ve been fighting this issue for a long time.”

Hillenbrand says the potential risk is too big to take a chance on.

In an email, Akron Deputy Mayor Annie McFadden said more discussion on the deal will take place at public council meetings before a final decision is made.

City council has changed the way it receives public comments. People are asked to call 330-375-2566 and leave a voicemail with their comment. It's no longer accepting emails.

There will be a virtual city council meeting Monday, Feb. 1 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Jay Shah is an aspiring broadcast journalist pursuing a Master of Arts in media and journalism at Kent State University. Jay’s student media career began as an undergraduate student at Old Westbury Web Radio (OWWR) of the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. She is passionate about raising community awareness on social justice, and environmental issues as well as local music and art. Her spare time involves attending local music showcases, experimenting with weird food combinations and painting. Jay wishes to use her journalistic abilities for providing a voice to the voiceless.
Kelsey Paulus is a Junior studying journalism at Kent State University. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in journalism with a minor in design. Along with interning for WKSU, Kelsey is also a co-producer of TV2’s kentcore and a designer for A Magazine. She is an aspiring music journalist and hopes to work in the magazine industry someday.