Cities Try Fracking for Dollars

Youngstown, Ohio, needs money to demolish vacant buildings, so it’s turning to fracking. The City Council is debating a proposal to combat blight by leasing the rights for oil and gas drilling under public land.

The city has enough money to raze only 260 homes, with more than 5,000 other structures vacant or ready for demolition, Mayor Charles P. Sammarone said.

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing say the money isn’t worth the risk of polluting drinking water and the environment. Sammarone said demolition is a priority because dilapidated homes are causing people to leave or avoid the city, and raising taxes isn’t an option. Surrounding cities and private landowners are already leasing mineral rights.


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