Monthly Archives: March 2012

Environmental Considerations Regarding Fracking

Extended Version of a Statement Given at the Oil and Gas Rights Public Forum at Ohio University, March 27, 2012

by Bernhard Debatin  

1. Introductory Remarks

Let me start with three introductory remarks before I get to the environmental considerations.

First, some definitions: When I say “fracking,” I mean the overall industrial process employed to conduct horizontal drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of oil and gas from deep shale layers. This includes ancillary activities such as the transportation and delivery of water and fracking fluids, drilling muds, silica sands, solid and liquid wastes, and other chemicals to and from the drilling site. It also includes the technical infrastructure, such as the well pad and the drilling rig; the bore hole and the well casing; freshwater and wastewater tanks, pits, and sludge-ponds; compressors, tanks, and pipelines for the extracted gas and oil; as well as trucks and other equipment used in the process. Continue reading


Take Another Look at Your Gas/Oil Lease!

By Austin Babrow and Alyssa R. Bernstein

“If I had known what I was getting into, I would not have leased my land.”  This was told by a resident of Wetzel County, WV, to visitors from Hocking College, on March 9, 2012.

If you have leased your land to Cunningham for gas or oil drilling, you may now (after the March 15 payout deadline) have an opportunity to reconsider your lease in order to better protect yourself and others.  If you do, then keep in mind that homeowners’ insurance does not protect your home or land from drilling damage.  Also keep in mind that it may be difficult or impossible to refinance or sell your property if leasing violates the terms of an existing mortgage.  Fracking may cause your house and land to lose their value. Continue reading

Ohio University Environmental Studies Board Members Approve Resolution on Fracking

Environmental Studies Advisory Board

Resolution on Hydraulic Fracturing at Ohio University

The undersigned members of the Environmental Studies Advisory Board approved the following resolution:

As the fracking boom is reaching Southeast Ohio, it is important to remember that our region has experienced short-lived boom-to-bust resource extraction before. The coal boom of the late 19th and early 20th century left Southeast Ohio in a state of environmental degradation and deforestation. The economic benefits went one-sidedly to a few corporations and individuals, while the population remained impoverished and the environment degraded. Poverty, like the environmental impacts, extends to the present day with Athens County posting the highest poverty rate in the state at 32.8 percent.[i]

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The Shale Gas Myth — Part 2: Five Fracking Myths Revisited

A Response to Robert W. Chase’s article “Five Myths About ‘Fracking’” in the Akron Beacon Journal, Jan 26, 2012

Part 2: Five Fracking Myths Revisited — Illusion and Reality of the Fracking Industry

By Bernhard Debatin

As we have seen in Part 1:  Unquestioned assumptions about Shale Gas Extraction, Robert Chase, who recently appeared on a local WOUB Newswatch show on fracking, starts his professed debunking of fracking myths with an introduction that heavily relies  on the unquestioned and unsubstantiated mythology of “more than 100 years’ worth inexpensive, environmentally attractive energy.”

How bad the situation actually is — overestimated recoverable gas resources, a financial Ponzi scheme, and an environmentally devastating record of the fracking industry — has recently been reported in an in-depth  article by Jeff Goodell, author of Big Coal, that was published in the March 1, 2012, edition of the Rolling Stone. The piece, titled The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom  also uncovers the autocratic rule and political entanglements of Chesapeake CEO A. McClendon, whom Goodell calls an “influential right-wing power broker” like the “Tea Party-financing Koch brothers.” Incidentally, this makes Chesapeake’s $26 million donation to and its acceptance by the Sierra Club even more despicable.

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