by Jackie Stewart, Energy in Depth
An Ohio anti-fracking activist group has gone radio silent and appears to have dismantled after two studies it coordinated and funded failed to confirm its anti-fracking narrative. Carroll County, home to the largest number of Utica Shale wells and the first county in Ohio where fracking really started booming, has also been home to Carroll County Concerned Citizens (CCCC), a small anti-fracking activist group. Over the past few years, this group (associated with the Frack Free America National Coalition), has held monthly meetings and used its website to provide a flurry of misinformation about the oil and gas industry. But most notably, CCCC has been a hub for “volunteer recruitment” for fracking studies.
Last year, two of the studies the CCCC participated and funded yielded “disappointing” results, as a University of Cincinnati (UC) groundwater fracking study showed “no evidence for natural gas contamination” and another UC fracking study on air quality was retracted, as it exaggerated cancer risks by 725,000 percent. Both of the UC studies’ lead authors announced their findings at CCCC meetings. Since then, there have been no meetings held or scheduled in the future, and it appears there has not been any activity whatsoever since hearing this “disappointing” news.
CCCC formed in 2009, but did not start becoming active until their screening of the debunked Gasland film. Shortly after they formed, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing started to boom in Carroll County, thanks to unprecedented investment in the county by Chesapeake Energy, which at the time predicted that Ohio’s shale formation could be game-changer, and it has been.
Chesapeake drilled its first shale well in 2011 but really started picking up steam into 2012. By 2013, Ohio hit a landmark of 1,000 permits for Utica shale drilling, with Carroll County doubling any other county in the state at 352 permits. Chesapeake Energy remains the No. 1 driller in Ohio’s Utica Shale today with 1,473 producing Utica wells, 300 wells that have been drilled and another 458 that have been permitted. For a visualization of the incredible development that has taken place in Carroll County, check out this production map from Drilling Edge.
During the same period of time, Carroll County Concerned Citizens have hosted misinformation machine FracTracker and numerous other activists, held a Data Collection Day and participated in study after study attempting to link to air and water issues to drilling (to no avail). Case-in-point, take a look at the timeline of CCCC’s meetings and the content of those meetings:
After spending years chasing its tails trying to find a solution in search of problem, it appears that CCCC have given up altogether as there has been zero activity from this group in months.
In fact, over the past year the group has not posted any new content on its website, held meetings, or recruited volunteers for fracking studies. Perhaps it’s because the people who live and work in Carroll County are keenly aware that the oil and gas industry has brought incredible benefits to their community while still preserving the breathtaking environment in their rural area. Or, perhaps the uneducated and skeptical small group of “concerned citizens” that have been the target of an activist roadshow of fearmongering have now had their concerns put to bed, as the studies they’ve supported have clearly shown fracking has not impacted groundwater or air quality in their region. In any event, the fact that this group has been radio silent after UC’s study results clearly indicates that they have given up on finding fault with fracking.
NOTE FROM THE DAILY DIGGER: We have reached out to Paul Feezel, founder of Carroll Concerned Citizens, for comment on this story. Mr. Feezel stated that the article republished above was written by Energy in Depth, an oil and gas industry site, with no input from him. He also penned an op-ed piece for The Daily Digger in response to this article, which can be read here: http://www.thedailydigger.com/2017/01/citizen-groups-play-important-role-in.html
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