EID-Ohio's Shawn Bennett responds to recent coverage on possible oil and gas development near cemeteries:
"A recent Dispatch article “Graveyards latest target in quest for gas” seems to have gained some traction in the past couple of days. Not only has it been covered in the Dispatch, the New York Times wrote their own piece detailing development under cemeteries in Texas.
There is an old adage in in the news business – if its not new, it’s not news. And this type of development is certainly not new. So while it may make for an intriguing headline and some sensationalist claims, the fact of the matter is that development under or near cemeteries has been happening for a number of years here in Ohio.
In fact I can think of a couple of wells within a few hundred yards of the cemetery where my both of my grandfathers and grandmother are buried.
The most recent well developed just a few hundred yards from my cemetery was developed when I was 14 years old. I remember it quite well since we used to ride bikes in the woods right by the rig. Today, the walking trail from the cemetery to the high school goes right past the pump jack.
Developing resources underneath cemeteries happens to be a great revenue source. In 2004, Forest P. Reichert, President of Knollwood Cemetery Association in Mayfield Heights, Ohio testified before the Ohio Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this very subject.
Mr. Reichert owned and maintained a 94 acre cemetery and home to the largest mausoleum in Ohio. He saw development as a safe and responsible way to raise funds to maintain and operate the cemetery."
Our company paid off the taxes of the second oldest black cemetary in Ohio, our intenetions are to lease the mineral rights and then form a nonprofit and return the cemetry to the community...with some funding.