Mother has right to be concerned about fracking
To the editor:
Fracking, injection wellswhat does it all mean?
"We had another one of those earthquakes," my mother, Columbiana resident tells me over the phone, speaking as if it is normal to register on the Richter scale in Northeastern Ohio. Catching up with my family I realized that things are a bit unsettled back in the valley. My mother wanted answers, what is fracking, is it toxic, is it bad? Skimming through news stories from the past month or so I found plenty of articles with updates on injection wells and contracts, but all with a lack of the raw science behind the issues.
Economic hardships and concerns over carbon dioxide emissions have put pressure on the energy industry to invest in new and cleaner sources of fuel. Natural gas, one clean energy solution, is formed thousands of feet below Earth's surface where pressure and increasing temperatures break oil down into lighter compounds of methane, butane, and propane. The gas, which is trapped in shale and other geological formations, can be extracted, purified and burned as a fuel source that emits less carbon dioxide than traditional energy sources such as oil and coal.
The process of extracting natural gas from shale formations is called hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as "fracking." Fracking involves the high pressure injection of a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to fracture the Earth and release natural gas. The sand works as a propping agent to keep fractures open and a variety of chemicals are used to aid in the fracturing process and to protect the well casing from corrosion and bacterial growth.
Wastewater from fracking contains mostly sodium and chloride (salt) but can also be laced with chemicals. While most energy companies choose not to disclose exactly what chemicals are being used, the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce released a report in 2011 naming 14 compounds used in hydraulic fracturing that are "known or possible human carcinogens." In addition to chemicals that are added to the water, naturally occurring elements such as lead, mercury and arsenic, and even radioactive elements like radium, thorium and uranium can be liberated during the process and brought to the surface with wastewater.
Fracking produces millions of gallons of wastewater and one common disposal practice is Class II Underground Injection wells, which those of you living in the Youngstown area are probably familiar with. Rather than deal with the difficult and costly process of treating the water, it is injected deep into the Earth thousands of feet below any groundwater and out of harm's way.
There have undoubtedly been many successful and environmentally safe applications of hydraulic fracturing bringing economic growth to small towns across the US while providing a cleaner source of energy. However, the fact of the matter is that there can be "incidents" with any fine tuned system, no matter how many safeholds, precautions and action plans are in place. In the case of fracking, these incidents could mean blow-outs and chemical spills which threaten our region's groundwater supply. If wastewater from fracking is so bad that it has to be buried 8,000 feet below Earth's surface, should we really allow it to be trucked through our streets and sit in holding tanks on our backyards?
I grew up in Columbiana and it was a great place to be a kid. It's a town that I enjoy coming home to and a place that I want future generations to be able to appreciate in the same way. Hydraulic fracturing and injection wells are risky businesses that seem to be closing in fast on Northeastern Ohio. The US Environmental Protection Agency is currently conducting a study of the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing with research questions focusing on how chemical mixing, spills and water withdrawal will effect drinking water resources - preliminary findings are not expected until the end of this year and the final report is scheduled to be released in 2014. Until then, there remain unanswered questions regarding the safety of hydraulic fracturing. My mother had every right to be concerned.
For more information check out resources from the Ohio EPA, US EPA, and Ohio Sierra Club.
Urges citizens to get to know Ron Paul
To the editor:
Many Americans today are feeling tossed to and fro because we have abandoned our anchor, the Constitution.
Americans who have lived modestly within their means because they value freedom more than stuff may feel oppressed because their government has put them $47,000 in debt per individual American.
Electing another party establishment elite politician will give us only more of the same-more death of loved ones in unconstitutional, undeclared wars, more spending, more taxes to pay for the spending, more regulations, more oppression of individual rights, more central planning instead of free markets, more erosion of our privacy and property rights, etc. In short, we will have just more of the status quo if we continue to elect RINOs (Republican In Name Only) and neo-cons.
The Republican Party establishment and the mainstream media black out Dr. Ron Paul, because he will derail their gravy train and curtail their control. Dr. Paul understands our Constitution and honors his congressional oath to defend it. Dr. Paul's message of individual liberty and individual responsibility continues to gain him young loyal supporters. These young people will continue the revolution to restore America to our Constitution so that our hard work will not have been in vain.
Please get to know Ron Paul before casting your vote in the upcoming primary election on March 6. Congressman Ron Paul's record proves that he can be trusted to say what he means and to mean what he says.
I will leave you with this quote from Mark Twain, "In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
Help us keep our Republic.
First United Methodist is a true 'Fortress of Faith'
To the editor:
In 1910, as the 20th century opened, the First United Methodist Church of Salem erected the large stone church on South Broadway Avenue. The congregation, as members of the community, lived the values of truth, honesty and hard work found in Salem. They felt a trust and kinship with the community for the generations of family to come.
Many thousands of Sundays became a century and proved that neither man nor stone structures stand eternal. The force of Ohio weather had taken a toll on the structure and created many problems with the building. Some were nearing catastrophic proportions!
In 2011, the church took action to prevent disaster. A capital improvements committee was established to spearhead the three-year restoration project. Their mission was to raise the needed funds and to search for the proper contractors to restore the structure to, not only a safe building, but a building with a refreshed and beautiful facade.
Strollo Architects of Columbiana was hired to oversee the project. Allegheny Restoration, Greensburg, Pa., was brought in to do the re-pointing and repairing of the stone structure. The original mortar was made with fiber which wicked water and created damage. Allegheny Restoration removed the old damaged mortar and replaced it with modern mortar. They also removed improper paint that was used and restored the trim on the church to the original sandstone color, giving the church definition and beauty. These repairs should make the church a sound structure for another 200 years!
The members of the church came together during these tough economic times, making pledges above and beyond their usual gifts to the church. The members not only gave, they were creative in many ways to earn money with such projects as Chicken on the Run (the first Thursday of every month) and the very successful Christmas Boutique.
The project is estimated to cost more than $400,000 when completed. Phase one was completed and entirely paid for in less than six months! Phase two will begin this spring with more necessary outside repair work. Another parking lot is needed for the growing congregation and new entrances are being considered for easier access. The last phase will be interior repairs and beautification.
A church is not a building but rather lives in faith within the heart. The church building is a place to gather and share. It is a place to teach and to learn, a place of community and of family and a place of safety to call home. Some believe that this church has only Sunday functions but many other community groups use the church facilities. These groups include: a public day care to help young working parents, the Cub Scouts and Troop 2 of the Boy Scouts of America, the Dulcimer group, Kidmo, Adult and Children's Choirs, Bell Choir, Bible Study groups, vacation Bible school and many others.
We are community volunteers, missionary workers and we support community outreach programs such as "Jesus is the Reason" yard signs. From this location we support the ROC, a safe place for teens to visit and form friendships, located on Lundy Avenue and we were instrumental in forming the Community Food Pantry. We are proud to be strong members of the Salem community and we vow to remain so.
Once, when asked where to find the Salem First United Methodist Church the usual answer was, "The Black Church building on Broadway." Today Salem's First United Methodist Church is known as, "That magnificent stone and stained glass Sanctuary on South Broadway!" The members of our church like to call it "Our Fortress of Faith."