CALCUTTA - Although St. Clair Township Trustees said they understand the importance of the economic impact of the shale industry on the local economy, they approved a resolution Tuesday declaring opposition to logging or surface location of well sites within Beaver Creek State Park.
The resolution states that although House bills 133 and 153 allow for logging and drilling in state parks and parks, including Beaver Creek State Park, are designated "Tier 1" for drilling purposes, "this resolution protects Beaver Creek State Park in its present state, from logging and drilling activities that will change the character of the park," because "the citizens of Columbiana County adamantly support the protection of the irreplaceable natural area."
In the resolution trustees state they will "exercise our authority and influence to prevent such activities by any and all parties within Beaver Creek State Park."
Trustees said their counterparts from all 18 townships in the county approved a similar resolution last week at the meeting of the township association. They expect county commissioners to adopt a similar resolution today.
A meeting for anyone interested in discussion of drilling, logging or other activity to be done within the park is planned for 6 p.m. July 30 in the Peter Metrovich Community Center at St. Clair Township's administration building.
"We are not anti-logging. We are not anti-drilling," Trustee Bob Swickard said. "There is a place for it though, and this isn't it."
Trustees state the significance of Beaver Creek State Park, noting: "Beaver Creek State Park is a Natural Treasure here in Columbiana County, having been designated as a State Wild and Federal Scenic River, an Audubon Important Bird Area - one of only 63 in the State of Ohio, is home to the endangered Hellbender Salamander, as well as being recognized throughout the state as a unique and fragile ecosystem.
Eco-tourism Beaver Creek State Park brings to the region, and to St. Clair Township, is of utmost importance, trustees said.
According to the resolution: "While acknowledging the potential positive impact to the local economy which the extraction of oil and gas within our township represents, (we) do recognize the significance of the negative impact of any surface disruption within the boundaries of the Beaver Creek State Park,"
Jim Hall, trustee chairman, said oil and gas drilling for the shale energy industry can be done on park property without well sites on park property. Trustees do not want surface drilling - placement of drill pads, or other drilling activity - within the confines of the park.
The resolution also states trustees are opposed to extraction of water from the creek: "activities such as logging and locating a well site within the boundaries of the State Park and the removal of excessive waters from Beaver Creek for the purpose of fracking activities would create significant and permanent damage to the forest canopy and terrain, the water quality and aquatic life, the wildlife habitat, and the scenic beauty and public enjoyment of the park."