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Friday, September 7, 2012

Ohio is Battleground State for Fracking Debate

From Crain's Cleveland Business:
Ohio appears to be a perennial battleground state. This time, though, it's what's underground that is the source of an energy-rich, fuel- driven debate – one that has created a deep chasm of political and public discourse.
High-volume, horizontal hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking – is a controversial and relatively new drilling technology that is being used to extract oil and gas from Utica shale deposits in the Buckeye State.
This practice has dredged a well of opposition from environmentalists and citizens groups worried about the lack of regulation and groundwater contamination. Proponents in the petroleum industry and big business organizations, however, gush about its powerful economic impact and job creation in some of the most impoverished areas of the state.
This tug-of-war of facts, projections and environmental impacts surrounding the issue of fracking has resulted in duelling public relations campaigns. And while neither side will put a dollar figure to their campaigns, it's easy to say that millions of dollars are going toward swaying public opinion and political will.
“Both sides have issues to wrestle with,” said Edward ‘Ned’ Hill, dean of the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, who was part of the research team that completed an economic impact study for the Ohio Shale Coalition in February.
“The environmentalists, who are highly sceptical of developing shale, and the industry, whose vested interest is pretty well known,” he said. “Unfortunately for the oil and gas industry, everyone has watched bad John Wayne movies, which have gushing oil derricks in the background, so there is a lot of scepticism. Nobody is going to believe anybody.”
Read the rest of the article here. 

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