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Kent Environmental Council
In This Issue
KEC to Hold Annual Meeting on Feb. 25; Revisions to Bylaws, Election of Officers among Topics
Portage County Solid Waste Management District Considers Privatizing Recycling and Switching to Single-Stream
Update on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Fracking Report: Dec. 21, 2012
Concerned Citizens Ohio Emphasizes Importance of Homeowners' Testing Their Water before Fracking Begins
Fracking Events and Resources from Concerned Citizens Ohio
The Environment in the News
Become a KEC Member or Gift a KEC Membership
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KEC Annual Meeting
Feb. 25
Welcome to the January 2013 issue of the Kent Environmental Council newsletter.  
KEC to Hold Annual Meeting on Feb. 25; Revisions to Bylaws, Election of Officers among Topics 

The Kent Environmental Council will hold its annual business meeting of the general membership on Monday, February 25. The event starts at 5 p.m. with a potluck dinner at the Roy Smith shelter house in Fred Fuller Park followed by the member meeting at 6 p.m. and a short program. If you are willing to help with planning, set-up or clean-up for the meeting, contact Lisa Regula Meyer.


The meeting this year includes the annual election of officers and voting on revisions to the KEC bylaws. The two offices open for election are secretary and treasurer; any nominations or offers of assistance should be directed to Charles Frederick. Revisions to the bylaws include updates to the way in which KEC adopts a public policy or other position, clarification about focus groups and board members, and minor changes to the text of the bylaws. A full copy of the bylaws will be provided 30 days in advance of the meeting. Copies also will be available at the annual meeting. To view a copy now, click here. Note that the meeting will be held regardless of weather conditions. After the meeting, participants may join in a night hike, weather permitting. We hope to see you there!


Portage County Solid Waste Management District Considers Privatizing Recycling and Switching to Single-Stream

The end of the life cycle of Portage County's recycling facility in Brimfield is drawing near and we, as citizens, must decide whether we want to rebuild the facility at its current location on Mogadore Road or switch to another way of handling our recyclable materials.


greenstar recycling center
Greenstar Recycling Center in Akron

The policy committee for the Portage County Solid Waste Management District has agreed to consider language in its five-year plan that could lead to privatization of recyclable collections around the county. The committee is responsible for developing language that would allow the study and possible implementation of privatization in the proposed five-year plan.


A recent two-hour session at Maplewood Career Center was billed as a concurrent session of the solid waste district commission and the policy committee. Former County Commissioner Chris Smeiles told the group of 50 observers at the meeting that the session was held so "you people [can] weigh in ... if you want it to go to Brimfield, so be it. If you want to go for a cheaper alternative for your taxpayers, speak up."


Committee member Tracy Wallach said the committee wanted to go forward with the plan as as written so the effect of the suggested changes could be studied. "It takes a thoughtful process. It cannot be done in a week or two weeks, and we are up against the deadline."


The plan is due to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency by early April. If it is late, the agency could impose a plan for the district.


Committee member Pat McCon also warned against hurrying. "I really don't think we can have it done by April. I also don't think there's anything that stops us from revisiting the plan a year from now," he said.


The district had been considering the closing of its sorting lines at the Mogadore Road facility and converting its residential collection routes to single-stream, which means that all recyclables are collected in one container. Doing so would have eliminated the need for several million dollars to rebuild or replace sorting machinery and enlarge the facility.


The district sought bids to sell its recyclables to private companies that would process the materials for reuse. To convert to single-stream, the district intended to buy several new trucks at about $250,000 each to automate and speed up curbside collections.


Hiram Township Trustee Jack Groselle said he believes that "now would be the time to privatize more of it" and open collection routes to private companies. Groselle said he was concerned about the cost of the trucks if the district moved to full privatization. "I do believe this is the perfect time," he said, adding that communities with curbside routes are subsidizing townships with drop-off sites. Those townships should be picking up their share of the cost, Groselle said.


Committee member and Paris Township Trustee Tom Smith noted that because the recycling charge is based on the cost of providing the service, the cost would be higher in more rural areas with smaller populations. Smith noted that each township pays $300 per year for each drop-off container it makes available to residents.


Smith then discussed the history of the recycling district, which was mandated by state law 20 years ago. He said the district's three goals are to meet the Ohio Revised Code mandate, meet Ohio EPA goals and do what is best for all county residents. "Can we turn our compliance to the law over to private industry and trust them to give us true numbers?" Smith asked. By a show of hands, a majority of those present supported the idea of private recycling collections.


Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska countered that Streetsboro and Aurora are not represented on the committee and added that he also supports privatization. "I don't know why I can't go out and have a private hauler make a bid," he said.


John Trew, service director for Aurora, said "the citizens of Aurora would like the opportunity to have the most economic rate possible, and I believe that would be through privatization."


One possible destination for the future of Portage County's recyclables is Akron. Greenstar Recycling of Houston recently partnered with Akron to increase recycling in that Ohio community. Greenstar constructed a state- of-the-art, single-stream processing facility within the corporate limits of Akron that will serve as a hub for recycling and recovery activities in the area. The facility opened on June 8, 2012.


In addition to Greenstar Recycling, Kimble Companies of Dover, Ohio, is being considered as one of the possible private contractors for Portage County's recycling efforts. They have recycling facilities in Twinsburg and Canton.


Anyone interested in commenting on the plan should contact Portage County Commissioner Kathleen Chandler at 330-297-3605. Chandler also can provide information on the policy committee meeting dates and plans.


Reported by Mike Sever of Record-Courier and Jeff Ingram of KEC 
 Update on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Fracking Report: Dec. 21, 2012

The federal government is on track to release its study in late 2014 on whether natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as fracking) pollute drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Friday, Dec. 21, as it gave a progress report on the closely watched analysis.


fracking cartoon glass half clean Although the update itself did not contain conclusions about the potential effects that hydraulic fracturing could have on drinking water resources, it outlined the framework for 18 different research projects already under way.


Critics have questioned the EPA's approach, which involves analyzing existing data from well sites around the country, computer modeling, laboratory studies, and assessing the toxicity of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids and drilling wastewater.


The hydraulic fracturing technique, which is credited with unlocking vast reserves of oil and natural gas nationwide, involves blasting sand, water and chemicals deep underground to open up the pores of dense rock formations and free the fossil fuels trapped within.


Fears of water contamination from the chemicals pumped underground and the water that flows out of wells have accompanied a surge in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in west Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and other states.


Congress mandated the broad EPA study amid the mounting fears, and the results could be used as the foundation for future regulation and legislation governing hydraulic fracturing, which is now generally regulated at the state level.


The study is examining the relationship between water and hydraulic fracturing at almost every stage of the drilling process, from acquiring water to the use of that water at wells to ultimately disposing of wastewater after the jobs are done.


So far, agency scientists are scrutinizing data from seven sources, including information provided by nine hydraulic fracturing service companies, more than 300 well files supplied by oil and gas operators, and thousands of chemical disclosure records filed on a voluntary registry known as FracFocus. The EPA also is looking at spill reports from Colorado, New Mexico and Pennsylvania to identify why fluids and wastewater were released.


The EPA said it is using computer modeling to evaluate how withdrawing large volumes of water in both dry and humid environments (the upper Colorado River and the Susquehanna River basins, respectively) is affecting drinking water sources.


fracking rayThe agency said it also is using computer modeling of six different scenarios to explore the likelihood that gas and fluid can migrate from deep shale formations to overlying aquifers. The EPA said it is working to identify what conditions might be associated with the underground migration of gases and fluids to drinking water sources and is exploring the extent to which inadequately constructed wells, nearby natural faults and close man-made wells affect that movement.


The EPA also is investigating whether common municipal wastewater treatment processes are successful at removing harmful materials--including naturally radioactive elements pulled from the ground--in wastewater flowing from hydraulically fractured wells.


The EPA has pledged to submit its draft results to a rigorous peer review process.


American Petroleum Institute Upstream Senior Policy Adviser Stephanie Meadows noted that a Battelle Memorial Institute report released last summer called for more collaboration on the study between the EPA and the industry. Meadows said the EPA has responded with some "constructive course corrections, including the formation of technical roundtables that include industry expertise."


"More collaboration, continued transparency and stakeholder involvement are essential elements for any scientifically sound study, and we hope that the rest of this process remains open and any data released has the necessary context," Meadows said. "A robust, thorough, careful study is important because it could affect the future course of shale energy development, which has enormous potential for improving our energy security, creating jobs and stimulating our economy for decades to come."



 Concerned Citizens Ohio Emphasizes Importance of Homeowners' Testing Their Water before Fracking Begins 
lab1Before fracking begins on or near your property, have your water tested, the Portage County chapter of Concerned Citizens Ohio (CCO) warns. To help you do that, CCO offers free water testing on the first Sunday of every month. The next testing date is Feb. 3, starting at 3:15 p.m., at the King of Glory Church, next to the Streetsboro post office in the Streetsboro Plaza just off state Route 303. People who want to have their water tested should arrive early. A class titled "What Is Fracking?" will be ongoing while they wait for their water to be tested.


Concerned Citizens Ohio in Portage County is grassroots organization that monitors fracking in the county. The organization's website
lists many tips for property owners and other concerned citizens if a fracking well is developed in their area.


Prefracking water testing provides important baseline water information that can be used to prove that fracking caused the contamination and the drillers must be held liable. Water should be tested 60 days before drilling begins on a property.


The testing should be from an independent testing lab that is certified with the state and in testing for organics, inorganics, metals, microbes and other contaminants. Do not use a lab that the drilling company suggests or owns. The lab--not the property owner--should take the samples. Only when the lab takes the samples is the report admissible as evidence in court.


A property owner could test for a long list of items, which costs close to $1,000. However, testing the water for just a few items is sufficient to get a baseline. At a minimum, test for total dissolved solids, chloride, barium, strontium and methane.


Source: NEOGAP (Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project)

Note: NEOGAP recommends Precision Analytical for water testing in Northeast Ohio.

Fracking Events and Resources from Concerned Citizens Ohio

Water Testing

Sun. Feb. 3

3:15 p.m.

King of Glory church, 1667 Streetsboro Plaza (next to post Office), Streetsboro, Ohio.


Bring at least two cups of water in a wide-mouth glass jar (no plastic), such as a Mason jar or a large jelly jar. Water should be collected as close to the well as possible. You will be asked to identify the tap from which the water was taken. The best samples are those taken before the water has passed through a water-softener system, a water heater, an iron filter or other treatment device. Let the water run for 10 minutes to be sure no pipe sediment is included. If it is too difficult to run the water for 10 minutes, wash several loads of laundry before taking the sample so that the water in the pipes has not been sitting for a long time.


Any environmentalists who are interested in volunteering can help with the water testing, as Concerned Citizens is now swamped with people from all over Portage County and even Trumbull and Geauga counties. Volunteers can help with taking samples back to the testers, corralling the people coming for testing or sitting at the information table. No water-testing experience is needed--just crowd-control skills or just the ability to make friendly contact with the many who come very afraid about their situations. Because we test only once a month, volunteer help for us is not a huge time commitment.Because we are members of the Kent Community Time Bank, such volunteers also can receive time credits for their help.


Call 330-472-8086 for more information.



Health Effects of Fracking

Sat., Jan. 26

7:30 p.m.

King of Glory Church, 1667 Streetsboro Plaza, (next to post office), Streetsboro, Ohio.


Dr. Deborah Cowden will review research that is emerging from communities around the nation where hydraulic fracturing operations have been ongoing for a number of years. The presentation will focus on the health effects of pollutants that are released during the process when it works as designed as well as some of the serious health risks associated with shale-gas industrial accidents. This is critical information for all residents. To date, nine horizontal wells have been permitted in Portage County.


Call 330-472-8086 for more information.



"The Sky Is Pink"

To watch this 18-minute video by Josh Fox ("Gasland") on the effects of fracking, click here.


The Environment in the News

The Plain Dealer, Dec. 11, 2012 -- Green/clean energy employs more people (2.7 million) than the fossil full industry (2.4 million), according to a report from the Brookings Institute, which advises companies and governments on how to use new technologies to improve their operations. This "clean economy" report focused on employment at companies that either sold products or performed services that provide environmental benefits "ranging from organic food farming to forestry, manufacturers of fuel cells and other types of energy conservation technology to mass transit [and] air and water purification to trash disposal to geothermal wind and solar power equipment manufacturers". While television commercials from the American Petroleum Institute boast of 9.2 million American jobs, this includes not only people who work in the oil industry but also people who work in industries that depend on petroleum, such as airlines and all their employees. According to the institute's website, however, when counting only jobs directly connected to producing and distributing oil and natural gas, the number of affected jobs is 2.2 million. 


Akron Beacon Journal, June 25, 2012 -- New mercury rules mean that for the first time, the federal government is enforcing the Clean Air Act's limits on mercury, arsenic, acid gasses and other poisonous, cancer-causing chemical resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, especially power plants. While opponents say the rules will kill jobs, the enforcement of environmental legislation over the past four decades has shown that "the overall benefits have far exceed the costs, with the economy expanding by more than 200 percent." The EPA says that these rules will benefit the 400,000 children born each year with harmful levels of mercury in their blood and predicts that annually enforcement will lead to 130,000 fewer asthma attacks and eliminate up to 11,000 premature deaths "along with fewer heart attacks, emergency room visits, missed work, and school days." While the new rules do present challenges to aging power plants, they also can lead to innovation of new technologies, new jobs and improved public health.


Record-Courier, Dec. 23, 2012 -- The low-maintenance project at newly renovated Plum Creek Park in Kent has the fish thriving and has earned praise from state officials. Since the completion of the project in 2011, the fish have returned. The Ohio EPA and Kent officials joined for a fish count on one day in September that showed 2,122 fish, mostly blunt-nose minnows (often a pioneering species when areas are repopulating), although there were 19 different species in the creek, including white sucker, greenside darter, Johnny darter, sunfish and bass. The plan is to inspect the stream again in 2013. According to William J. Zawiski, environmental supervisor for the Ohio EPA, the city's effort was "one of the finest stream restoration projects I have had the opportunity to inspect."

Become a KEC Member or Gift a KEC Membership to a Friend

Become a member of KEC or gift a membership to a friend. Just fill out the KEC membership form. Our KEC membership levels are $45 Sustaining; $35, Family; $25, Individual; $15 Golden Buckeye; $10 Student; $500, Lifetime membership. Enclose the completed form and your check made payable to: Kent Environmental Council" along with the completed membership form to: KEC, P.O. Box 395, Kent OH 44240.




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