Citizens Concerned With Fracking Prospects Meet With Commissioners

By
Amarens ten Bruggencate

Dateline
Updated Thu, Feb 9, 2012 3:56 pm

More than 200 residents of Athens and surrounding counties are concerned about the formation of a fracking advisory committee. 

The group expressed their concern today in a letter directed to the Athens County Commissioners. 
 
The residents who signed the letter are worried the committee will not reflect the needs of most Athens County citizens, people who are not leasing their land to oil and gas drilling companies. 
 
"From the research we've done so far and looking at all three land owner groups, only about three, at most five percent, of the residents of Athens County have signed gas leases. And while there may be a larger percentage of in favor, clearly the overwhelming majority of residents of Athens County have not signed a lease, have chosen not to sign gas leases," said Al Blazevicious.
 
But just the fact that a minority of people have signed leases, does not mean all other people oppose fracking, says Commissioner Lenny Eliason. 
 
"I don't think that you have 95 percent of people that are opposed to it, I think a lot of people don't have an opinion in it," said Eliason.
 
Among those who do have a strong opinion about fracking is Dave Willoughby, who represents a group of leasing landowners. Willoughby says he has had enough of the ongoing protest against fracking.
 
"It sure would be nice to see if we would be able to limit the time to this on a weekly basis so that the county can move forward with the county business," said Willoughby.
 
Blazevicious says he is not surprised landowners are fighting back. "These people are being promised large amounts of money for leasing their land. So those of us who are holding out will not be receiving that but we are receiving," said Blazevicious. "We think we are winners, because we live in a beautiful unspoiled place where we can have good community, good high-quality local organic food and live healthy lives in a natural environment."
 
The County Commissioners are still mulling-over the formation of an advisory committee with a decision expected in a couple of weeks.
 
A major issue seems to be the make-up of the committee - who, specifically, will participate.
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