CLEVELAND — The biggest contributor to Mark Romanchuk’s campaign for Ohio House District 2 representative has been Chesapeake Energy, according to his campaign finance filing last week with the Ohio Secretary of State. Chesapeake Energy contributed $4,000 to his campaign, a conspicuous amount for a state representative race. Romanchuk is running against Mansfield City Council member Ellen Haring for the open seat created when Rep. Jay Goyal decided not to run for re-election. The 31-year-old Goyal said he wanted to devote more time to his family’s business, Goyal Industries, a metals manufacturing firm making parts for passenger rail cars.
The amount of money coming to Romanchuk’s campaign from oil and gas interests may be understated, since he also received $68,567.08 in in-kind contributions from the Ohio Republican Party and Ohio House Republican Organization Committee. The original source of these channeled contributions cannot be determined.
According to Haring’s most recent filing available she has received no contributions from oil and gas interests.
In a recent article on the Ohio House District 2 race, Romanchuk and Haring gave contrasting views on hydraulic fracturing:
It is a game-changer. What we should be doing as a county is figuring out how we can be involved,” Romanchuk said. The state should partner with the industry, both to figure out how to take advantage of the economic boom and deal with the waste stream, he said.
Haring, one of the city council members who unanimously supported a charter amendment proposal allowing the City of Mansfield to have a say over whether injection wells are constructed within city boundaries, was more cautious. The boom will mean jobs, she said. “But as Pennsylvania has warned us, you better be ready to stay out front (of potential environmental hazards).” While horizontal drilling has been done for years, it has not been done at anywhere near the current level, she said. “We don’t know what can happen with hydraulic fracking. We’re not quite sure how stable those fissures are, and there was the seismic accident (near Youngstown). Yet we’re still moving ahead. Are we prepared, as a state?”
— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action