Athens County Commissioners Likely to Vote Fracking Resolution

This coming Thursday, the Athens County Commissioners are likely to vote on a resolution about fracking. The meeting will take place on Feb. 9., 9:30 a.m., in the Athens County Courthouse’s Annex, second floor.

You can express your views in advance by contacting the commissioners: 

The Athens News wrote on Feb 2, 2012: “The resolution, brought to the commissioners in revised form last week by fracking opponents, includes provisions that would establish a local strategic advisory board, support anti-fracking legislation currently under consideration in the U.S. Congress, and call for various points of oversight and regulation from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.”

In an open letter to the Athens County Commissioners, published earlier on SD-Frac, concerned citizens wrote:

“We request your support for H.R. 1204 — Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects (BREATHE) Act, which would end special exemptions for oil/gas extraction from aggregation standards with which all other industries much comply.  [….]  Regarding opposition to regulation of private wells in source water protection areas: regulation is to protect the commons, including the air and drinking water that our community share and depend on.  Toxic emissions and water contamination cannot be private matters in a civilized society. That is what government is for—to protect the common good that private interests cannot or will not.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) along with Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and Rush Holt (D-NJ)  introduced the BREATHE Act on  March 17, 2011 (The Bringing Reductions to Energy’s Airborne Toxic Health Effects Act). The Breathe Act is sister legislation to the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act), which was introduced in June 2009 to require the oils and gas drilling industry to disclose the chemicals in the fracking fluids used in the fracturing process.

On his website, Polis says: “The sheer number of wells has grown exponentially in recent years, and this growth correlates directly to an impact on regional air quality and resident health in areas of active drilling… Surely we wouldn’t assume that as long as one car meets emissions standards, 20,000 cars wouldn’t affect air quality.  Unfortunately, this exact false logic is currently being applied to oil and gas drilling and it’s causing noticeable health impacts. It’s simply common sense to ensure that we monitor extremely dangerous emissions, equip communities in heavy drilling areas with the tools they need to stay safe, and reverse these exemptions to the Clean Air Act.”

Co-sponsor Hinchley is quoted on the site as follows: “It’s long past time to end the oil and gas industry’s exemptions to our country’s basic environmental safeguards […] Whether you’re drilling oil or gas, toxic fumes released in the process pollute the air we breathe, causing health problems for workers at the drilling sites and nearby residents. The BREATHE Act is another commonsense bill that will make sure that oil and gas companies use the best available technology to rid their emissions of harmful pollutants and protect our air and the people who breathe it.”


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