Anti-Fracking Signs Vandalized In Payne County

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 6:09 pm

The controversy over hydraulic fracturing and the use of injection wells seems to be growing more contentious in Stillwater. Residents there are reporting vandalism to signs opposing the oil production techniques.

Ariel Ross has a sign in her front porch that's bolted into the ground, has a metal bar across the middle and has medal spikes poking out from it. She calls it “Frankensign”. After her four previous signs were stolen or destroyed, this is what she and her husband resorted to to keep this one in place.

“The signs quote a friend of mine, Kel Pickens, that says, ‘They underestimated the persistence of our red dirt resistance,'” said Ross. “I felt like we had to live up to that. So we're trying to be persistent.”

Ariel said at least 10 other people have also have their anti-fracking signs vandalized or stolen.

Shelley Schmidt said someone drove across her property and plowed down her two signs with their truck.

“It's just irritating that people don't respect other people's opinions,” said Schmidt.

Shelley said after an oil pipeline started going in right to the south of her house and seven oil wells popped up surrounding it she had had enough.

“When you move into the country, you hope to a nice and quiet place,” she said. “It hasn't been that for the past three years. It's been loud, a lot of pollution, the trucks, smells.”

Shelly and Ariel are both part of the group "Stop Fracking Payne County". Last month the Stillwater City council considered tightening regulations on injection wells within city limits.

Ariel said the vandalism with the signs seems to have ramped up since then.

“I hate confrontation,” she said. “This is making me really nervous.”

Tuesday night the Stillwater Planning Commission is considering a ban of injection wells inside the city limits. That meeting is at 5:30 p.n. If the planning commission and city council passes it, Stillwater would be the first city in Oklahoma to ban injection wells.