BELMONT COUNTY, OH (WTRF) — The intersection of Route 331 and Route 40 near St. Clairsville is one of the busiest places in Belmont County.
Now the approval has been put into place for a New Jersey company, Omni Energy Group, to place two injection wells there for disposal of waste products from production wells.
The location of the wells is across the street from the Marathon gas station where the former Wagon Wheel was located. The site is near two colleges, Ohio University Eastern and Belmont College. It is also close to the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department, the county jail, Friends Church, Belmont Career Center, the Belmont County Animal Shelter and many other county offices, private businesses and residences.
The former Murray Energy headquarters is located about a quarter mile from the site and the late Bob Murray voiced his objections to the project.
Many are appalled by the site’s location, saying it will decrease their homes’ property value, and some believe the noise and additional traffic may cause them to move.
Belmont County Commission president J.P. Dutton says he is extremely disappointed by the decision, and that the state law needs to be corrected.
We’ve had conversation with everyone. Everyone knows what our stance is. We’re continuing those conversations, but we found on early on that there was limited ability we had to play a role in this. It’s obviously a state issues involving state agencies. And again, that’s why I expressed my disappointment that the state law is the way it is. I strongly believe I’ve made this point to countless individuals, legislators, and others that I believe strongly the state law needs to be amended.JP DUTTON, BELMONT COUNTY COMMISSION PRESIDENT
Dutton says there are many locations in Belmont County that are a better fit and have a larger radius around them. He also says he will continue conversations to appeal the location.
Meanwhile, the CEO of Omni Energy Group tells WTRF.com the site has been vacant for ten years and he doesn’t understand the controversy.