EID Responds to blitz of stories from Athens News
Recently, a rush of articles, letters to the editor and OpEds have run in the Athens News , covering several topics regarding the possible development of shale in Athens. One could not help but notice the amount of errors and false assertions made by some of the authors of those pieces. While responding to each of these is a full time job in and of itself, let’s take a look at some of the most outrageous comments that are far from fact in a recent letter to the editor.
The ability to partake in healthy debate and voice differing opinions is part of what makes this country great, but when those opinions are not based on facts or in science – and are printed as such – it’s time for a reality check from EID-Ohio.
Let us take a moment to answer the first question posed:
“So does anyone have a fracking success story to sway minds?” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
- There are numerous success stories to share that come from the responsible development of shale in Ohio. Several such stories were shown on national TV when ABC news made a stop in Steubenville. Our post on that story can be found here.
- The Youngstown Vindy also has written about the opportunities that have been realized because of shale development. Just take a look here at one such success story.
There was another question posed by the author that caught our eye:
“I wonder why people would lease their oil and gas rights without assurance/knowledge about how the land, their lives, neighbors and communities would fare from the process?” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
- That is an easy question to answer, considering Ohio has been producing oil and gas for over 150 years.
- The first Ohio well enhanced via the hydraulic fracturing technique was completed way back in 1951, and there have been over 80,000 since then. How about that for some assurance ? But one doesn’t just have to take EID-Ohio’s word for it-check out the STRONGER report that says Ohio’s regulatory program is meeting its objectives and has a lot to offer other states.
Continuing the author goes on to say that:
“Those landowners probably won’t be able to enjoy all that money when it’s put back into repairing and cleaning their land, paying for the doctors bills that will come with the deterioration of their health,” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
- As for the comment about public health – one only has to look at the long 150 year history of oil and gas production in the state to find out that the industry has a great track record of keep the public safe here in Ohio. The same is true elsewhere as well. Multiple reports, including a comprehensive Barnett Shale Air Emissions Study shows “No Significant Health Risks” as a result of operations there. Indeed, the health in Denton County, Texas has increased by every metric since natural gas development began there.
- If by chance you don’t think using Texas is a good comparison this post where regulators from Alaska, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota, or Wyoming say that this industry has a good, solid and clean track record of keeping the population safe. The examples go on but in the interest of brevity we will stop here.
Another assertion: “What about when the land you own and love, putting your blood, sweat, tears and money back into, is surrounded by land that’s been grabbed by an industry refusing to disclose the chemicals they’ll push into your ground?” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
- I would love for this to be the last time I had to mention this but I know it will not be the last. The industry is not refusing to disclose chemicals, quite the opposite actually. A good place to find all of the information one might need regarding disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluid is on the ONDR website and at FracFocus you can find a well-by-well register of all chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid in your neighborhood or community. In case you were wondering this information is provided voluntarily by natural gas producers.
“The American government will FORCE your rights away.” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
- Since the ODNR has primacy over all mineral development in Ohio and have oversight and total control over all of the regulation and enforcement of those said regulations, it is hard to see how or why the “American government” will force your rights away.
“The only claims to the safety of the entire practice are made by the industry itself. I’ve found little scientific info countering the negative impacts of fracking. I see terror, images & video of land horribly marred, accounts of numerous “everyday people” sickened, their livelihoods and lives ruined.” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 ),
- Well we will start with safety here. In 2004, EPA conducted an extensive review of hydraulic fracturing in coalbed methane. They found that hydraulic fracturing is safe and does not impact water supplies. Then there’s this study, recently released from the Department of Energy which also highlights the overall safety of the industry with a few minor suggestions on additional improvements that can be made. There is also this comprehensive report of state regulations protecting environmental resources in natural gas production again highlighting safety. There’s also the multi-disciplinary report conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technologywith the main premise that benefits accrued from shale development far outweigh environmental concerns as the process is safe. Of course, there is also the U.S. Department of Energy’s study entitled the “Environmental Benefits of Advanced Oil and Gas Exploration Technology.” We could continue.
- There are also many positive benefits accruing from shale development- you just have to be willing to open your eyes to see them. One such fact is the renaissance of our state’s manufacturing economy as evident by the fact that they are making STEEL in YOUNGSTOWN again as just one example.
- One can also check out the OOGEEP economic impact study for more information about how the livelihoods of average everyday Ohioans will be changed by the development of our natural gas and crude oil resources.
” We SHOULD boost our local economy ,” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
Yes! Now this we can all agree with. Surely she must have read about the incredible economic boost a small community like Carrollton is experiencing thanks to oil and gas development. Also, this report indicates 200,000 jobs for Ohioans are on the way thanks to responsible shale development. This will do much to boost our local economy.
“I’m looking for a success story to assuage my fear,” (Letter to the Editor, 12/7/11 )
Oh, they’re out there. One example, look to the family that used the money obtained from their lease agreement to build a fantastic new, modern dairy . Better yet, just look for the new car, truck, tractor, roof, barn, mower, livestock and feedstock that you will see around their house. Or get in the car and head to Steubenville, Lorain, Youngstown, Carroll County or the countless other places benefiting from the safe and responsible development of the Utica Shale.
Finally, look to the thousands of recently employed Ohioans, and the hundreds of thousands of employed Ohioans to come… all thanks to Ohio’s natural resources and energy development.