Gas Drilling Topic of 'What the Frack?' at the Kent Stage

Panel of scientists, ecologists discussed potential environmental effects of horizontal hydraulic fracturing

More than 70 people from communities throughout Portage County attended a public forum Saturday at the on the topic of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," hosted by the Kent Environmental Council.

Moderated by Robert Heath, an ecosystem ecologist and retired director of the Water Resources Research Institute at , “What the Frack?” included a panel of four scientists and environmental activists who took questions from the audience after presenting information on the fracking process.

Fracking is a drilling method used to obtain natural gas trapped in underground shale. A drilling fluid composed of water and sand, with some chemical additives, is injected at high pressure into the rock to break it and release the natural gas.

"The goal is to get the discussion going," said Jeff Ingram, a KEC member. "Let’s see what’s going on under the ground, especially with something as important as drinking water."

The panelists were: Dan Lincoln, a meteorologist from the Northeast Ohio Gas Accountability Project; Gwen Fischer, from Concerned Citizens for Safer Drilling; Jeffrey Dick, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown State University; and Dave Simons, a full-time environmentalist and co-chair of the Ohio Sierra Club’s fracking committee.

Lincoln said he became involved in raising public awareness about fracking after seeing Gasland, a documentary depicting adverse effects on health and the environment from fracking.

The first horizontal hydraulic fracturing test well drilled into Utica Shale in Portage County is under review by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The well, drilled by Chesapeake Energy Corp., is in Suffield Township south of Kent.

Camille Fauser of Kent said she went to the forum Saturday night to learn about potential environmental and health effects of fracking.

"It’s a concern of mine. I don’t think enough research has been done about the overall effects, especially on water, and quite frankly I don’t trust the (energy) industry to give the absolute facts," Fauser said.

* June 27, 2011 at 10:45 PM
Documents: Industry Privately Skeptical of Shale Gas Over the past six months, The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of documents related to shale gas, including hundreds of industry e-mails, internal agency documents and reports by analysts. A selection of these documents is included here; names and identifying information have been redacted to protect the confidentiality of sources, many of whom were not authorized by their employers to communicate with The Times. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/us/natural-gas-drilling-down-documents-4-intro.html
* June 27, 2011 at 10:48 PM
“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work,” an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009.
Michelle Sahr June 28, 2011 at 01:16 PM
That is interesting... and possibly hopeful. This is saying that the money being made in this type of shale drilling has more to do with increasing stock prices and the value of the businesses based on the prospect of drilling lots of oil. However, it appears that the Shale gas isn't likely to produce nearly what is being promised or promoted. I'm hopeful that savvy investors will catch onto this quickly and stop investing into this type of drilling. Wish I could have made the presentation at Kent Stage (but I was out of town).
Josh Crawley February 03, 2012 at 10:17 PM
This sort of event should be advertised more. I really wish I could have been there. I have talked with my neigbors about getting everyone together with a Chesapeake representative. But I know the answers will be bias. I think we all need more awarenss about this. Weather we like it or not it's a snowball rolling and If your not ready it will pass us up. I just want to know all the risks and all the benefits. It would be nice to get top dollar in lease negotiations as well. Maybe the Patch can put out a heads up next time there is a meeting in the community like this again. Thanks
Kasha Legeza February 03, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Josh, this article you commented on is from last June. However, here's a story from Monday about two Kent fracking-related events that will be held in the coming weeks: http://patch.com/A-q3q9.


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