Shalersville – When Bill Baker learned that injection wells – those wells built for long-term storage of the waste products of the hydraulic injection process, were to be drilled in targeted areas of Mansfield, Baker’s passion for citizens’ rights was ignited. For those unfamiliar with the process, an injection well is a vertical pipe in the ground into which water, other liquids, or gases are pumped or allowed to flow. These liquids — waste products of hydrofacturing wells — contain a slew of chemical compounds that result from gas and oil exploration in shale formations. Critics of waste water injection wells, including Baker, voice concerns regarding those potentially harmful compounds seeping from the injection wells and polluting local groundwater reserves. 

Baker, whom many describe as a “funny, friendly, totally enthusiastic citizen of Mansfield,” helped that city pass legislation that stopped injection wells (disposal wells) from being placed within the city limits, right near neighborhoods. In a presentation on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30 pm, Baker will present “Fracking: You DO Have a Voice.”  His talk is sponsored by Concerned Citizens-Shalersville, and will take place at the King of Glory Church in the Streetsboro Plaza on Route 303.

A Mansfield native and US Navy veteran, Baker was instrumental in working alongside residents and his local government to protect Mansfield from fracking waste. Due to their combined efforts, the construction of two, high-volume, high-pressure injection wells have been blocked. Those injection wells would have resulted in the transportation of millions of gallons of toxic frack waste in by rail from other states to be dumped inside the city limits near residential neighborhoods in Mansfield. Furthermore, attempts to override the City Council’s decisions have also been blocked.

In his talk, Baker will discuss how citizens can and do have a voice in their communities. Baker will showcase how regular citizens can work alongside their elected officials to be agents of change in their communities. An avid videographer, Baker has recorded community projects he’s participated in around Mansfield, and will share his advice on how to work closely with local business and organizations to foster social and environmental justice. For more information on this event, contact Mary Greer at 330-472-8086.