Ohio, especially the eastern portion of the state, sits on a huge shale deposit known as the Marcellus Shale Formation. This formation has huge implications for domestic energy production, but comes with a litany of environmental liabilities. For the uninformed, Hydraulic Fracturing (also known as “Fracking” in the vernacular) is essentially a method of pumping a chemical cocktail into the earth, thus fracturing shale and releasing natural gas. The natural gas is then captured and becomes energy for a more “economically sustainable” America. The problem is that these short term economic benefits are likely to be overshadowed by significant liabilities in the long term. For one, landowners in rural Ohio have been concerned for a long time about the effect of fracking on the groundwater in their communities. It is quite common for those affected by these deleterious effects of Fracking to fall ill, and in extreme cases, can even light their water on fire. More troubling perhaps is a recent study linking fracking to increased seismic activity. Recently, a new survey by the Associated Press of complaints made in 4 states shows the extent of the problem in Ohio:
Ohio had 37 complaints in 2010 and no confirmed contamination of water supplies; 54 complaints in 2011 and two confirmed cases of contamination; 59 complaints in 2012 and two confirmed contaminations; and 40 complaints for the first 11 months of 2013, with two confirmed contaminations and 14 still under investigation.