AKRON, Ohio — Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan announced Thursday that he has withdrawn his proposal to lease underground oil and gas rights for well sites just outside the city's property lines.
Horrigan originally introduced the proposal as a solution to generate funds for upcoming water and sewer needs, but was met with pushback from residents over the potential risks and the negative reputation of fracking.
"I completely understand the public’s concern about irresponsible fracking practices that have occurred in this country, but I’m also troubled about the misinformation used to stir up community concern, when our primary objective is to safeguard the health, economic mobility, and safety of our residents," Mayor Horrigan explained in a press release.
Horrigan says that with the proposal, tight control over the project and the ability to put the highest of restrictions and protections in place, would have been allowed.
Without the additional revenue, Mayor Horrigan says the city is in a "precarious spot" when it comes to funding.
The city of Akron is being crippled by its current consent decree and ratepayers are already facing sizable sewer fees due to the federally mandated $1.2 billon sewer project. Additionally, the pandemic has resulted in a "significant reduction" in revenue from municipal sewer and water revenue due to lack of business activity.
According to the Mayor, the project was expected to immediately generate a quarter of a million dollars in revenue and maintain a "significant royalty revenue over the life of the project."
"The City of Akron needs revenue to maintain our vast water infrastructure and to continue to eliminate lead services in this city to get us closer to our goal of zero lead service lines in Akron," said Horrigan.
Mayor Horrigan maintains that he and his staff will continue to evaluate creative ways to safely and responsibly leverage the city's assets to raise the necessary funding.