Residents pack county commission meeting objecting to injection well site

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People who live and work near the intersection of Route 40 and Route 331 told commissioners that would be an “absolutely horrible place” to put an injection well.

Right now a company is trying to do that, although the ODNR has not yet granted a permit.“To me, it’s totally unacceptable,” said Greg Reline, Richland Township trustee. “We have Ohio University Eastern, Belmont College, the JVS, Murray Energy and East Richland Friends School all right there.”

Others spoke up, saying the area is too vital, active and populated to add 200 trucks carrying 600 gallons of waste every day.“Let me tell you something,” warned Chad Kocher of St. Clairsville. “If this is allowed to go there, it will set a precedent and no other property owner in Belmont County will be safe.”“For the state to issue a permit around two universities, a school, restaurants and all the other things here upstream of our reservoir would just be ludicrous,” added Wilbur Winland of Belmont County.

Commissioners said they understand the concerns, but the decision is up to the state. They said they’ve spoken to ODNR officials about it, but they have no control.Commissioner Jerry Echemann summed it up.“We’re not really opposed to injection wells in general because you can’t have fracking without a few injection wells,” Echemann noted. “But this particular location I don’t think is a good location for it. I’ve been told by quite a few people that there’s a very good chance that a business is going to spring up there. And I would much rather see a business end up there, and the injection wells end up miles and miles away.”

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