People “just heard money and they were lined up, you know, clear around the (Barnesville) high school. Hundreds and hundreds of people (were) waiting to get in to sign up. That was very alarming to me just to see how blindly everyone embraced the industry,” said Jill Hunkler, a 44-year-old Barnesville resident who says she has suffered health problems because of the drilling.
Amid the drilling boom, environmentalists and health experts have descended upon Belmont and neighboring Appalachian counties in an effort to measure the impact of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, on water quality, air emissions and even emotional health.
“The evidence is strengthening and growing,” said Nicole Deziel, an assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health, who has traveled to the region for three years to study air and water quality.
“Scientists are quickly conducting health studies to better understand whether there are health impacts or not.”
Activists say the clock is ticking. They hope to have clear findings before the oil and gas industry potentially takes a big next step.
Chemical company PTTGC America, based in Thailand, is considering building a “cracker” plant on the west bank of the Ohio River in Belmont County that would convert an oil and gas byproduct into ethylene, a key ingredient in producing plastics and chemicals. Such a plant could produce hundreds of high-paying jobs and potentially draw plastics plants seeking access to the ethylene.Read the whole article by clicking here.