No injection wells in Mansfield?

MANSFIELD — Preferred Fluids Management has withdrawn its proposed site plan for two 5,000-foot injection wells, and the project’s fate is uncertain.

The proposal was under consideration by the City Planning Commission.

On June 12, the company purchased for $34,230 the 4.9-acre parcel where it had announced last fall it would build those wells. Before that, it only had an option on the property, off Knight Parkway.

On Tuesday, company owner Steve Mobley would not say whether he will pursue construction of injection wells here, or whether he is dropping the project.

“I can’t comment on anything about that,” he said.

The company is based in Austin, Texas.

Mansfield building and codes manager J.R. Rice received a letter Tuesday from Harry E. Winfrey of Richland Engineering, notifying the city that Mobley had asked that site and stormwater management plans for the two wells be withdrawn. Preferred Fluids Management has had state permits since spring 2011 to build two wells on the city’s north side.

Last fall, Winfrey appeared before the planning commission to describe the proposed project. Mayor Tim Theaker said the company never followed up with answers to questions posed by the city engineering department.

The commission then voted unanimously to accept withdrawal of the pending site and stormwater plans.

What’s next?

“We haven’t won the war yet. We have won a battle,” Theaker said.

Other companies may still be interested in constructing injection wells within the city, he said.

The mayor and city Law Director John Spon met immediately after learning of the withdrawal letter to discuss what it meant. Theaker said he had a short phone conversation with Mobley, but could not discern the company’s plans.

“It would now appear, at least with respect to Mr. Mobley and his company, that they are no longer proceeding with their project,” the mayor and law director said in a joint news release. “While this withdrawal appears to be a city victory over a company that sought to inject toxic poison into our soil, the city must remain vigilant against other companies.”

Preferred Fluids Management obtained its permits from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Mobley told the News Journal last fall he hoped to have hydraulic fracturing wastewater shipped to the site from Pennsylvania. No construction has taken place.

“You can’t start drilling unless you have the roads — and the roads have to be approved by the planning commission,” Spon said Tuesday.

Heidi Hetzel-Evans, spokeswoman for ODNR, said Preferred Fluids Management has two years — until April 18 or 19, 2013 — to get its well in operation or have its permit lapse.

“So he’s got (nearly) another year to go,” she said.

ODNR officials were aware Preferred Fluids now owns the five-acre property, but there has been no recent change in the status of its well permits, Hetzel-Evans said.

City’s actions

City council has approved putting a charter amendment before Mansfield voters this fall to establish an environmental bill of rights designed to allow the city to veto construction of injection wells. Spon has said he’d fight construction of the well all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, if necessary.

The mayor and law director asked other local government agencies to consider contributing to a “war chest” to hire expert legal help.

Trustees from at least two neighboring townships have approved resolutions calling for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, pending a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report on whether the technology is safe.

Permits for injection wells already in operation can be transferred to new owners, Hetzel-Evans said. But since the two Mansfield wells have not been built, Mobley can not turn his state permits over if he sells the property as it is now, she said.

“Neither well is active. The old owner would have to cancel the permits, and then the new owner would have to apply for permits,” she said.

A new owner might have a bit of a head start, in some areas — “obviously some of the legwork has been done” — but a new application would trigger a new public notice, Hetzel-Evans said.

“My guess is some of the tests would have to be new tests, because they haven’t been recent,” she said.

Future construction by any operator could be affected by more stringent regulations put into effect since Mobley first applied.

New rules for well construction will go into effect Aug. 1, affecting the Mansfield wells if they are built, Hetzel-Evans said.

A wider-ranging slate of new standards will go into effect in early September.

“There is quite a bit of strengthening the department has done for regulation of injection wells, much of which will be applied (if the Mansfield wells are built) because these wells haven’t been dug yet,” Hetzel-Evans said.

lmartz@gannett.com
419-521-7229
Twitter: @MNJmartz

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8 Responses to No injection wells in Mansfield?

  1. buckeyesyd says:

    Jan Trexler Kennedy · Top commenter · Temple University, Tyler School of Art
    It says though that Mobley bought the land. Hmm.

    Elaine Baer · Top commenter · Works at Self employed web developer
    Hmmm indeed! I wonder what the going rate for land in that part of Mansfield is right now though? Mobley got it for about $7000 an acre. Is that a bargain or not? Maybe the property owner got scared at all the negative attention and sold it to PFM for a song? Maybe Mobley plans to flip the land, in the great tradition of Chesapeake Energy, that business-savvy company about to go into bankruptcy for their insanely stupid and questionable business tactics.

    Phil Sydnor · Top Commenter · School of Hard Knocks
    Ahhhh, our Occupier friends who don’t allow just anybody in their group, but say they speak for the 99ers?. No doubt about it, because we can’t speak for ourselves otherwise – lol!

    Questionable business tactics are those who start a group which proclaims they speak for us all, but then won’t let you speak?. That’s what these occupiers think is a just business practice – lol!

  2. buckeyesyd says:

    Marty Rice · Top commenter · Madison High School
    A victory for the people. That’s good.

    Phil Sydnor · Top Commenter · School of Hard Knocks
    Correction, it’s a victory for the Occupiers, or should I call them by their REAL NAME? – Oppressors!

  3. buckeyesyd says:

    Fred Pursley · Top commenter · UHK (University of Hard Knocks)
    Seems our Mayor buys into all the Progressive propaganda or else he is a people pleasing politician. I have read too much about how the Left manipulates and exaggerates, even making a slim possibility a sure happening, that they have lost any credibility to speak to this issue. This is Leftist Environmental agenda.. nothing more. But when we have lost the ability to seek truth, agenda is all we have. Sad state of affairs in this city—which by the way, reflects the sad state of affairs of this now Progressive America–the land of government of “Leftist agenda” over the people—or in plain terms (not sure Lefties understand it still) TYRANNY.

  4. buckeyesyd says:

    Pat Bender · Works at Maxim Healthcare Services
    Good job Mayor Theaker and Dir. Spohn…Historically Richland county has been blessed by the Lord above
    with Artesian springs and Rich Land…smiles….NO amt. of money or JOBS can equal that…pray for our county
    that proper and good folks would bring jobs and good managers of those jobs. Broad is the path that leads to destruction…narrow is the Good Way.

    Phil Sydnor · Top Commenter · School of Hard Knocks
    I suppose your company “Maxim Healthcare Services” is the way? – the Lord above has already blessed us with his son, no need for Healthcare services unless they’re free! – Historically, Richland County has been nothing but corrupt with money grabbers!!!! – Wait until the sheeple wake up?.

  5. buckeyesyd says:

    Ronald T. Puff · Pastor at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
    What a shame.

    Ronald T. Puff · Pastor at Pleasant Valley Baptist Church
    more jobs lost to scare tactics.

    Jan Trexler Kennedy · Top commenter · Temple University, Tyler School of Art
    Are you serious? The most jobs would have been from cleaning up the toxic waste. Those are the kinds of jobs you want?

    Donna Carver · Top commenter
    Injection wells do no create jobs. If you think it creates jobs could you please explain who besides the driver of the truck who doesn’t even understand the risk he is exposed to and the ODNR inspector who may on occasion inspect it?

    Kevin Ruic · Top Commenter · Owner/ President at FASCAR North
    This would be a Pastor that either has not kept up on what’s been going on or has no respect for his congregation and I’m sure that’s not the case. There would be only two permanent jobs created and the possibilities of losses are beyond your imagination. May I respectfully ask the good Pastor to do some research on the project and respond again after doing so.

    Fred Pursley · Top Commenter · UHK (University of Hard Knocks)
    Jan Trexler Kennedy —-Your gullibility is amazing–really!

    • buckeyesyd says:

      Fred Pursley · Top Commenter · UHK (University of Hard Knocks)
      Donna Carver —YES THEY DO—in the long run they create many jobs—just not Union and there in lies some of the problem for you Lefties—well I should say Lefty Agenda makers. The rest of you just parrot the talk.

    • buckeyesyd says:

      Phil Sydnor · Top commenter · School of Hard Knocks
      Jan – who will clean up the toxic waste flouride that’s already in your drinking water? – Our local leaders cannot be trusted, these jobs are desperately needed and you’ll see why when higher taxes are imposed who won.

      You gotta love STUPID people, chalk one up to Mansfield City Schools – they are top notch – lol!

  6. buckeyesyd says:

    Phil Sydnor · Top commenter · School of Hard Knocks
    The OPPRESSORS have won again!!!! – Instead of creating REAL JOBS, we’ll continue to to chase them off as we legalize crimes like gambling and protect others like prostitution. Nothing like suiting themselves, we will see the latest temporary tax hikes becoming permanent, and like the BIG CITY in CA. – we will see Mansfield eventually filing for bankruptcy as well. Too funny Mansfielders are this naive, the water here is already toxic! – Flouride IS NOT FOR INGESTING!.

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