Should Marietta City Council approve the leasing of more than 35 acres of municipal property to Tulsa, Okla.-based Protege Energy III for horizontal hydraulic oil and gas drilling operations?
Several city residents, including 26-year-old Andrew Hudasko would favor the lease.
"I'm in favor of it. This is being done all over the country, and it's a good source of income," he said. "And Ohio has some of the tightest regulations on oil and gas drilling."
Jim Baldinger, 79, said he, too would support leasing city property to the oil and gas industry.
"I'd be all for it," he said. "The way they regulate drilling now it could be done safely, and the city could use the money."
In January city council members were approached by a local broker on behalf of Protege Energy III about leasing the city property as part of a 6,000-acre block of surrounding lands that Protege wants to lease for a natural gas horizontal hydraulic drilling operation.
If you go
A special public meeting to discuss the possible lease of city property for oil and gas drilling will be held in the Graham Auditorium at Washington State Community College Feb. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m.
All interested citizens are encouraged to attend.
The company has offered to pay $4,750 an acre, plus a 17.5 percent royalty based on any product that would be retrieved from the drilling operation.
"I don't see any problem with that, it wouldn't be a big deal to me," said Donna Torbert, 40, of Marietta.
But city resident Beryl Austin, 62, had some concerns.
"I would say no to leasing the property," she said. "I think it would allow drilling too close to the city, and I have some concern about the environment. Protecting our water should be the main concern, and this drilling process has not been fully proven to be safe."
Matt Lupardus, vice president of the Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association (SOOGA), told council members last month that the hydraulic drilling would occur in the Utica shale bed that's approximately 7,500 feet below the earth's surface.
He said water wells are drilled to 150 feet, more than a mile above the location of the Utica shale drilling.
City resident Becky Adams, 46, grew up in the country where oil wells were common near her home.
"I think we should be trying to get all the oil and gas we can from right here in the U.S.," she said. "And there are so many regulations in place now that there's not a lot of risk of anything happening from these drilling operations. Also Marietta needs all the revenue it can get."
Heather Butler, 20, of Marietta said she believes the city should lease the land to Protege.
"I think it would be a good idea as long as the land where the drilling rig is located is not inside the city limits," she said.
City council's lands, buildings and parks committee will hold a special public meeting to discuss the potential city property lease from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Graham Auditorium at Washington State Community College.