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Water sale for fracking

Amid some concerns from residents, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District is moving forward with a study to determine if three of the district's reservoirs can withstand the sale of water for use in fracking wells.

In the hydraulic fracturing process, commonly called fracking, water is injected into the ground along with a combination of sand and chemicals to shatter the rock formation and release natural gas.



Oil regulators heading to Bakersfield to gather input on fracking

State regulators plan to swing through Bakersfield Wednesday as part of a statewide listening tour that could shape new rules for the contentious and increasingly common oil field practice also known as hydraulic fracturing.

Set for 7 to 9 p.m. at the county Board of Supervisors chambers, 1115 Truxtun Ave., the public workshop is to open with an overview of California oil and gas production, as well as a discussion of the state's geology and existing regulations designed to protect underground sources of drinking water.,0,4357174.story


Ohio panel to review rules on gas wells, drilling

Ohio panel to review rules on gas wells, drilling May 07,2012 06:22 PM GMT Julie Carr SmythAssociated Press Copyright � 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,broadcast, rewritten or redistributed..

COLUMBUS: A state legislative panel in Ohio is preparing to consider updated rules from the state’s natural resources agency on horizontal oil and gas drilling.

A rule-setting committee will meet Monday to debate rules related to drilling permits, well construction and industry standards amid an Ohio fracking boom in the Utica and Marcellus shale formations.

State natural resources director James Zehringer sent a letter Friday assuring 1,500 traditional oil and gas producers the technical rules would be both environmentally safe and business-friendly.

If the rules clear the committee, the earliest they could take effect is May 28. The natural resources agency would decide the effective date.

Zehringer’s letter also told smaller producers that a severance tax increase proposed by Republican Gov. John Kasich probably would not apply to them


City Council acts to ban ‘fracking’ in water supply area

Athens City Council made several moves on Monday to further expressing its opposition to oil and gas drilling in sensitive areas, specifically the city's wellhead protection zone and the Wayne National Forest.

In a unanimous vote, City Council passed a resolution making certain amendments to the city's wellhead protection plan, including provisions banning the controversial horizontal hydraulic fracturing drilling technique in that area.

The likelihood of any company starting a "fracking" operation in the city are relatively small, but City Council members decided to include to take a stand anyway.

In any event, Ohio Revised Code relegates all oil and gas drilling and wastewater disposal regulatory authority to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Mineral Resources Management.

The ODNR has said that it does not take municipal law into consideration when deciding whether to grant drilling permits, though it can exercise stricter regulations to protect water and other resources in urban areas.

In council's revisions, the first provision bans "drilling, mining, exploration and extraction operations, including but not limited to, petroleum gas and minerals," while the second bans "the storage and/or disposal of wastewater and other byproducts associated with drilling, mining, exploration and extraction operations."

Athens Law Director Pat Lang has said that as an adviser to the body, he has let members know that the language has the potential to be problematic.

Meanwhile, the body also moved forward with a resolution requesting Wayne National Forest to conduct an environmental impact statement prior to the release of any forest lands to the Bureau of Land Management for oil and gas leasing.

City Council stated that an environmental impact study is the only way that the city's water, air and economy can be assured of protection from potential harmful effects stemming from damage to Wayne lands as a result of drilling.

"The city of Athens calls upon the Wayne National Forest to complete an environmental impact statement process prior to the release of any surface or subsurface rights for oil and gas leasing under its jurisdiction," the resolution states. "The city recognizes that Wayne National Forest is legally obligated under the National Environmental Policy Act to consider regional impacts of significant activities on any and all Wayne National Forrest lands. Furthermore, Wayne National Forest is under legal obligation to consider how leases on its land add cumulatively to total impacts that will be experienced in our region."



Couple denied mortgage because of gas drilling


gas well


Brian and Amy Smith seem to be the first example in western Pennsylvania of a homeowner being denied a mortgage because of gas drilling on a next-door neighbor's property.
The drilling goes on day and night at a new Marcellus Shale well in Daisytown, Washington County, and Brian Smith told Channel 4 Action News investigator Jim Parsons that he has no complaints -- except one.
"As far as drilling and the noise and the lights in the window? No," he said. "But when it affected the value of my home? Absolutely."
The Smiths live across the street from the new gas well. They applied for a new mortgage on their $230,000 home and hobby farm, and Quicken Loans congratulated them on their conditional approval.
"They said all the paperwork will be done by the end of the week and we'll be able to close," Brian Smith said. "Somewhere in there, they called us and said, 'Your loan got denied.' "
In an email, Quicken Loans told the Smiths, "Unfortunately, we are unable to move forward with this loan. It is located across the street from a gas drilling site." Two other national lenders also turned down Brian Smith's application.
Quicken Loans emailed the following statement to Channel 4 Action News: "While Quicken Loans makes every effort to help its clients reach their homeownership goals, like every lender, we are ultimately bound by very specific underwriting guidelines. In some cases conditions exist, such as gas wells and other structures in nearby lots, that can significantly degrade a property's value. In these cases, we are unable to extend financing due to the unknown future marketability of the property."
Clean Water Action said that in other parts of the country, when shale gas drilling has arrived, mortgages at nearby properties sometimes get denied. This is the first case they've heard in Pennsylvania.
"The banks aren't stupid," said Myron Arnowitt, director of Clean Water Action in Pennsylvania. "They're going to look at that and be more cautious in terms of what they are willing to mortgage."
"If I can't refinance, could somebody get a loan to purchase my house? And that would be my concern. That's definitely a worry," Brian Smith said.
Homeowners who are denied by national lenders because of gas drilling could try local banks. First Federal in Washington, Pa., said it does not deny mortgage applications based solely on nearby drilling.


Lobby the Forest Service to not allow leasing of Wayne forest for fracking

To the Editor:

This letter is intended for Anne Carey, supervisor of the Wayne National Forest.

Hello, Ms. Carey, I understand the Forest Service has yet to decide whether or not to lease acreage to the BLM for fracking along the Hocking River. Can this be true? If so, what on earth is there to decide? It seems to me to be a no-brainer!

The Forest Service received a barrage of letters from local citizens, including Ohio University President McDavis, reminding the Forest Service that the Hocking is the drinking water source for the region, not to mention providing water for crops. Athens city gets ALL of its water supply from wells in unconsolidated river aquifers.

Athens County is a model nationwide for a growing, sustainable, local food system. Have you been to the Athens Farmers Market? If you haven't, please do yourself a favor.

Fracking involves the use of carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and other unnamed chemicals/poisons. It uses MILLIONS of gallons of water. Imagine huge trucks 24/7 taking the contaminated, irradiated water away. Just supposing an accident happens and a truckload spills into the river? Then what?

Recall the truckload of toluene (similar to benzene) that spilled into the creek near Millfield in the early '80s? Fortunately, it was a warm day and it rolled into foam; had it been cold that day, it would have gone into the creek as a liquid. Fracking near the Hocking River would be MONUMENTALLY stupid. I urge you to nip this one while it's still in the bud!

I encourage any/all of you reading this to write a letter to her with your feeling/opinion about this issue:

Anne Carey, supervisor

Wayne National Forest

13700 U.S. Rt. 33

Nelsonville, OH 45764


Wyoming pushed EPA to delay study on fracking: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The governor of Wyoming pressed the top U.S. environmental regulator to delay its December, 2011 release of a draft study linking fracking for natural gas to contamination of drinking water, a news report said on Thursday.

Governor Matt Mead contacted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and persuaded her to delay for about a month releasing the study that found fluids used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, had likely polluted an aquifer in the small town of Pavillion, the Associated Press report said.

The delay gave state officials time to raise dozens of questions about the draft study and coordinate an "all-out-press" against the EPA in the weeks before the agency released the study on December 8 last year, said the report, which relied on emails obtained from a state records request and an interview with Mead, a drilling supporter.

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