LORDSTOWN - Local elected officials are calling on natural gas and oil companies to find ways to muffle drill site lights and sounds without muffling their profits.
Acting in response to complaints from neighbors adjacent to the successful Kibler well, Weathersfield Township trustees and Trumbull County commissioners have asked Houston-based Halcon Resources to tone down deafening noise and bright lights as they plan for further natural gas drilling at the site on Brunstetter Road in Lordstown.
"We certainly extend our best wishes to you and your company as you look forward to drilling additional legs of the well on this property," trustees wrote in an Aug. 15 letter to Halcon. "As you contemplate this additional drilling, it is our hope that you will take additional steps to protect the peace and tranquillity of residents in the Westwood Lake Mobile Home Park."
Located just across the township line, residents of the mobile home park, in some cases, live less than 200 yards from the Kibler well. Pat McCrudden, who lives closest to the well, has complained frequently about the months of fluorescent lighting, deafening noise, increased traffic and the smell of petroleum during the drilling and hydraulic fracturing process.
"They never should have been able to put it there with 335 homes in a highly concentrated area. Most of us are older and retirees. This is my retirement home," McCrudden said.
She was among a group of residents and other opponents of hydraulic fracturing that recently brought their plea to the commissioners, trustees and other state elected officials.
"We want sound barriers. That's an absolute must. We have to have that. We want re-directed lights. For months we had lights shining right in our properties. We put poster board up on the windows, garbage bags, and it's still like daylight."
She also said she would like to see noise and pollution monitors installed. "We want to know what's in the air that we are breathing, and we think we are well within our rights to ask for this."
In their letter to Halcon, trustees H. Gilson Blair, Steven Gerberry and Marvin McBride suggested redirecting lights to the cornfield rather than the nearby homes and installing some form of sound barrier.
Trumbull Commissioner Frank Fuda said he also took time to meet with residents and has made a similar request to Halcon via other county officials who meet more frequently with Halcon representatives.
In response to questions about the issue, Halcon's local spokesman Vince Bevacqua declined to discuss specific upcoming projects but said the concerns will be taken into account.
"If Halcon develops other wells in the area, the company is committed to being a good neighbor and doing its best to minimize any disruptions for the neighbors," Bevacqua said.