A regional group that monitors "fracking" -- hydraulic fracturing used to open up previously unreachable supplies of oil and natural gas -- believes the controversial practice may be on its way to Strongsville.
Sandra Bilek, a Medina activist, said she attended a Web meeting of NEOGAP (Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection) July 13 and learned drillers are reportedly looking for sites here.
"We heard they are going to be targeting the Strongsville-North Royalton area," Bilek said.
No one in Strongsville government could confirm that report.
But there is no doubt that fracking is making its way through Ohio, which is covered with a layer of Marcellus shale that has, until now, trapped large reservoirs of natural gas and oil.
The process uses chemically treated water at high pressure to break through the shale and extract the resources.
Bilek said fracking involves drilling a hole as deep as 8,000 feet, then extending it two miles horizontally.
"People have got to become aware of this," she said.
Proponents say fracking, which has been around about 50 years, is safe.
Opponents say it releases toxic chemicals into the ground and can lead to earthquakes, ruin people's wells and even cause houses to explode.
"You just can't believe what they're shooting into the ground," Bilek said.
There have been protests in and many other cities from people who want Ohio to ban fracking altogether, saying it is contaminating ground water.
Instead, Ohio, which allows fracking on private property, recently opened up state parks to drillers.
If companies do bring a fracking operation to Strongsville, there would be little, if anything, the city could do to stop it. The state took control over oil and gas drilling away from local governments several years ago.