Athens County Has Split Opinion on Drilling

College green at Ohio University
A couple of weeks ago we reported on a story about a town hall meeting at Ohio University which oil and gas industry critics pointed to as an example of deception on the part of Cunningham Energy representatives.

Now, a new Ohio University survey of Athens County residents reveals that they are almost evenly split over the idea of fracking in the area.

A recent article from The Athens News contains a lot of numbers and details about the survey, but I'll try to just hit on some of the more interesting details.  I'll go ahead and say here that all percentages are approximate, just so that I don't have to keep typing "around" and "about."  More after the jump...

  • 37 percent said they are strongly opposed, while 36 percent said they strongly support it.  Another 8 percent expressed some opposition and another 15 percent showed some support.  Fewer than 4 percent were neutral.  
  • Less than 32 percent felt that they could trust the oil and gas industry. 
  • About 49 percent felt that fracking is environmentally risky, while 43 percent felt that it was safe.  
  • Oddly, 44 percent felt that the money which would pour into the economy from fracking would not improve the quality of life in the community.  
  • 29 percent said that they don't think fracking would bring jobs to the county; which indicates to me, given the impact drilling activity has had on communities where it is taking or has taken place, this quite frankly seems to indicate that 29 percent of those polled have not followed any news outside of their county in the past year or so, even though...
  • 95 percent of those polled said that they've done their own research on fracking through various sources.
  • 46 percent said that they were unlikely to sign a lease if approached, while another 46 percent said they likely would sign
  • Most did not expect immediate personal business advantage from fracking, and about two thirds said they would not be trying to get business from an oil and gas company (I think this type of viewpoint tends to soften when the money starts flowing)

The survey was a project for students in OU's Marketing 379 class.  Michael C. Bendokaitis, one of the students, found the results a bit surprising in light of the vocal opposition to fracking that had previously been expressed by members of the community.  "It was kind of, 'We want the money, but we don't want the environmental impact that comes with it,'" he said.

In that sense the results resembled the Quinnipiac University poll referenced previously here at The Daily Digger.

So, what do you think of the results of this new survey?  Discuss it here or on the message boards!

Picture from The Athens News

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