For Brookfield Citizens Against Injection Wells, there is plenty to be discouraged about.
After all, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has approved Highland Field Services LLC’s permits to build five injection wells on property on Route 7 north of Wyngate Manor Mobile Home Park.
But, the group said it would simply step up its game, and a visible manifestation of that occurred April 20, when its members and kindred spirits ringed the green in Brookfield Center, waving signs to make people aware of their effort.
They were greeted by honks and shouts of support from motorists, and the occasional question as northbound vehicles backed up at the red light at Route 7 and Warren Sharon Road.
“This is absolutely wonderful,” said Gloria Douglas, who lives in Wyngate and has become the face of the group.
The group plans to take advantage of the warmer weather and increased traffic from local events, such as Yankee Lake Truck Night, to raise its visibility. While most of the group’s protests have been limited to rallies at the green, Douglas said it is looking into other locations.
Michelle Maggio was heading home to Warren from work when she saw the protest. A member of the Green Party who is making a video against fracking, which produces the waste water that is disposed of in injection wells, Maggio was elated to stumble on like-minded people.
“If people were aware of this issue, they would be against this,” she said.
Investment in clean and green alternative energies such as wind and solar power could make natural gas drilling a nonissue, she said.
“Ohio is one of the most nonrenewable-resource-based places,” she said. “We need more.”
Judy and Ray Vershum of Canfield supported the effort, but also promoted the gubernatorial candidacy of Dennis Kucinich, who appeared at a Brookfield Citizens Against Injection Wells rally in early April, posting videos of his appearance online.
“We just came over to support the residents who are living through this nightmare,” said Judy Vershum, who wore a Sierra Club vest, and called Kucinich “quite like Bernie (Sanders).”
Ray Vershum, a chemical engineer, disregards the company line on the chemicals that are in the waste water that is injected underground for disposal. Highland said some of the chemicals break down quickly and others are used in household products or show up in such small amounts as to not be harmful.
“It’s ugly s—,” Vershum said.
Leonard Grbinick of Austintown said he has been an anti-fracking advocate since Youngstown started getting earthquakes. Although ODNR has said earthquakes tied to injection wells are rare, they’re too common for Grbinick’s liking.
“An earthquake in Youngstown?” Grbinick said, remembering the New Years Eve 2011 quake that was tied to an injection well. “Who would have heard of that?”
John Williams of Weathersfield said he came out to support his neighbors.
“This is craziness,” he said of ODNR approving five wells on the same property. “The ODNR is supposed to protect the health and safety of the state and they permit that? All people deserve better.”