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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MWCD Could Approve Piedmont Lake Lease Soon; Doesn't Make Everyone Happy

From The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register:
Members of the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District may allow Denver-based Antero Resources to drill for Utica Shale natural gas on nearly 6,700 acres of Piedmont Lake property in Belmont and Harrison counties as early as Friday.
"Financial terms still are being negotiated. According to our staff, there will be a maximum of two well pads that will be located on district property," spokesman Darrin Lautenschleger said Monday, adding that the district's board of directors will consider Antero's proposal during the regular meeting set for Friday in New Philadelphia.
Thousands of ambitious fishermen hoping to hook a catfish, walleye, bass or muskie - along with children participating in 4-H and school-related activities - head to Piedmont Lake every year. The vast majority of the lake itself lies in northwestern Belmont County, while it stretches into southern Harrison County and the extreme northeastern corner of Guernsey County.
You can read the rest of that article by clicking here.

Do you think that it is a good idea for the MWCD to be leasing all of this land for drilling?  Many would argue that it most definitely is not.

One man who lives in the area of Piedmont Lake is making his objections known.  Here is a portion of a letter to the editor by Eric Fenster which appeared in the Times Leader:
Dear Editor, 
On April 18, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) will sign a lease allowing fracking wells around Piedmont Lake for an indefinite time into the future. 
The text published on March 21 reflects no plan or environmental assessment, no limit on the number of well pads, no hint of their possible locations on and off MWCD property, no indication where pipelines and access roads will be. 
Any given well just requires a 30-day notice to the MWCD prior to construction, and since consent "may not be unreasonably withheld, conditioned or delayed," this allows only days for a rubber stamp review of the complexities of the wells and tanks, forest clearing, pipelines, access roads, etc. 
Tearing up land for pipelines from wells sited off MWCD's own property will be negotiated separately from this lease -- by MWCD , not by affected landowners -- so those future decisions and effects are totally unknown. 
The lease provides for both "unitizing" and mandatory pooling so as to include property not owned by MWCD. Under Ohio's unitization rules, unleased landowners can be forced into participation without even being notified. 
Readers can Google: ORC 6101.15 to see the unlimited and uncontestable powers the MWCD Board has to usurp "public or private property located in or out of the district" to "accomplish [its] purposes."
Read the rest of Mr. Fenster's letter here.

And here is the lease proposed:




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