Appalachian Basin

Clearing Up Misinformation On Shale Development

It is no secret that shale development has gained momentum in many communities across Ohio and there are two sides in the debate: those who want our oil and natural gas resources developed in a safe and responsible way; and those who don’t want our oil and natural gas resources developed at all.

Ohio has a rich history in oil and natural gas development.  For more than 150 years, our natural gas and crude oil has been used to provide energy resources to homes, schools, churches, farms and businesses across the state.

Those who oppose development have attempted to vilify the industry with misinformation that I’d like to clear up so Ohioans remain confident that the industry will continue to explore and develop Ohio’s shale resources in a safe manner.

First, the assertion “fracking” includes everything involved in oil and gas production, when in fact, hydraulic fracturing is only one small part of the drilling process, and one that the industry has been using safely and reliably for more than 60 years in Ohio to extract energy resources from the ground.

Second, the statement that the oil and natural industry is exempt from oversight, when the industry is one of the most highly regulated industries both by the federal and state government.  Ohio recently enacted the most stringent set of drilling regulations in the country in Senate Bill 315. Notably, the nation’s first combined well construction and hydraulic fracturing chemical disclosure requirement.

Third, the contention hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has stated on numerous occasions “there are no examples in Ohio where hydraulic fracturing has been responsible for groundwater contamination.”  It should be noted that U.S. EPA has come to the very same conclusion regarding the process throughout the United States.

Fourth, the claim injection wells are poorly regulated is completely devoid of reality. The fact of the matter is Ohio’s injection well regulations are among the toughest in the country, and go above and beyond even what U.S. EPA requires for a strong regulatory program.

Finally, the proclamation for communities to fight for local control over oil and gas drilling is unnecessary, given the state already has qualified professionals to effectively regulate the industry in order to ensure protection of the health, safety, welfare, and property of Ohioans.

With so much false information readily available, it’s incumbent upon Ohioans to educate themselves on oil and natural gas development, by seeking out information from experts, such as geologists or engineers, who have the credentials and experience to understand the technologies being employed by the industry in order to safely produce Ohio’s natural resources.

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