Appalachian Basin

Bowling Green Hoodwinked By Uninformed Activists

Last week, the Bowling Green City Council voted to ban oil and gas development within the city limits of the northwestern city.  Now if this were the 1880’s they would remember how much prosperity the oil and gas industry has brought into the region, but those wells have been depleted since William McKinley (a man actually born in Niles, Ohio) was president.  Meanwhile, the City of Niles has realized it was duped by anti-oil and gas activists and has rescinded a similar ban on oil and natural gas development.

Niles, of course, is in eastern Ohio where safe and responsible Utica Shale development is actually happening and transforming economies, not in the middle of a residential neighborhood as was misreported by those opposed to shale development.

The City of Bowling Green, on the other hand, is victim to an organized movement by anti oil and gas organizations to ban shale development in areas where there is no possibility of Utica Shale development happening in this lifetime. In truth, the city has become another victim of being lied to by those who know nothing about oil and gas development.

Unfortunately, the Bowling Green City Council was hoodwinked by wild fantasies of groundwater contamination and air pollution, two theories that have been debunked time, time, and time again.  Not only have the Department of Energy, University of Texas and Massachusetts Institute of Technology completed extensive studies on the subject, but it is widely accepted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and regulators across the United States that hydraulic fracturing does not contaminate groundwater.  In terms of air pollution, real life data from Texas and Ohio prove a different story as do studies in West Virginia and Colorado.

While the ban is just a piece of paper that has absolutely zero authority to regulate oil and gas development, it is a lot better than the Community “Bill of Rights” that is proposed for the November ballot.  The Community “Bill of Rights” actually has unintended consequences that would still not affect oil and gas development but place unnecessary burdens on other industries in the city.  For instance, say Bowling Green University would want to build a forth natural gas boiler on the campus.  If the charter passed, it would now be illegal.

The city council may be proud of its work, but it sadly joins the ranks of Cincinnati and Yellow Springs – cities who waste tax payer money to pass bans that will never affect them.  Just because the anti oil and gas activists come to your town, it doesn’t mean oil and gas development is going to happen.  If so, there would be a lot of petroleum geologists out of a job.  More City Councils should learn the facts before making knee jerk reactions that may actually negatively impact those areas of the state that want oil and gas development.  This ban isn’t about your city.  It is about banning oil and gas across the state.

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