72 Percent of Ohioans Want A Fracking Moratorium, Citing Need For More Study

The unconventional gas industry's latest rush in the United States will land it in the state of Ohio, but a recent poll shows that the state's residents are not rolling out the red carpet for an industry famous for threatening drinking water supplies, causing earthquakes, noise and air pollution and trying to proliferate global addiction to fossil fuels.

Results from a Quinnipiac University poll released today shows that 59 percent of those polled have heard of or read about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the complex and risky process that enables unconventional gas drilling. A whopping 72 percent of Ohioans familiar with fracking support a moratorium on the process until it is studied further.

The other 41-percent of citizens are likely to follow suit once they discover what is headed their way, and how little this industry will help them from a financial point of view in the long run.

Ohio recently found itself with the fracking shakes, as magnitude 4.0-level earthquakes struck near Youngstown on New Year's Eve. Scientists suspect the earthquakes resulted from a wastewater injection well disposing of fracking brine from Pennsylvania. The Christian Science Monitor explained in a story that the “quake triggered shaking reportedly felt as as far away as Buffalo, N.Y., and Toronto.” 

These fracking-related earthquakes are not an aberation, but rather a repeated occurence linked to fracking in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, as well as abroad in the U.K., in the city BlackpoolAl Jazeera English recently ran a story on the Ohio fracking-induced earthquakes. Watch:


Fears that 'fracking' causes Ohio earthquakes

Multinational Gas Corporations Head to Ohio

On the financial side of things, the gas industry's rush to drill the Utica Shale is led by the nation's largest unconventional gas corporation, Chesapeake Energy. Chesapeake has a huge joint ownership stake in the Utica Shale with Total SA, the French oil and gas conglomerate. As DeSmogBlog wrote a bit over a month ago, “Total S.A. is positioning itself to acquire 25 percent of Chesapeake Energy’s stake in Ohio's Utica Shale, valued at $2.14 Billion.” 

Also in on the hunt for gas in the Utica are industry giants Royal Dutch ShellChevronExxonMobil, Anadarko Petroleum, and Range Resources, a corporation now infamous for its use of psychological warfare tactics to “win the hearts and minds” of U.S. citizens in the neighboring Marcellus Shale basin.

So much for “energy independence,” “boosting the local economy,” and small, independent “mom and pop” gas industry start-ups.

Thankfully, Ohioans aren't drinking the kool-aid and have chosen, like the citizens of Bulgaria recently did, to fight back against the industry's destructive deceit. They are wise to demand a moratorium on fracking, which DeSmogBlog called for in Fracking The Future.

Time will tell if they succeed.


Well as for Arkansas being on the earthquake list? Scratch that off the list. Many great scientists and geologist stated for a fact it was caused by the fracking. Many newspapers news magazines and web sights blamed it on the fracking. Some even reported that Arkansas placed a moratorium of fracking because of the earthquakes. They were proven wrong. Bad thing is very few admitted it. Many web blog and news articles still have it posted as fact. As for Texas and Oklahoma we will just have to see. But as far as Arkansas it is simply not true.

It seems that troydonscott has a very vivid imagination. All by himself with no apparent data to back up his assertions he says:

“Well as for Arkansas being on the earthquake list? Scratch that off the list. Many great scientists and geologist stated for a fact it was caused by the fracking. Many newspapers news magazines and web sights blamed it on the fracking. Some even reported that Arkansas placed a moratorium of fracking because of the earthquakes. They were proven wrong.”

In tds’ world he can just make up anything he wants and it must be right. Ever heard of the scientific method tds? Oooh, I forget you are an AGW denier and oil industry shill you don’t need proof you only have to say so and everyone has to accept your word. What an imbecile!

Here are a couple of recent reports on earthquakes in Arkansas:


http://articles.cnn.com/2010-12-13/us/arkansas.earthquakes_1_earthquake-swarm-new-madrid-arkansas-town?_s=PM:US “

“Ausbrooks says the state Geological Survey has no idea whether the current swarm is a natural or man-made event, but his office is seriously exploring the latter. “We see no relation to the drilling in the area, but we haven’t ruled out a connection to the salt water disposal wells,” he said.

Last week the state of Arkansas issued a moratorium on new drilling permits. Lawrence Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, said previously his office required only monthly reports outlining the operations of injection wells.

“We’re asking well operators to provide daily reports now,” Benegal said”.

Mmm does that bear any relation to tds’ comment?

…it feels like an earthquake when the the formation fractures..


“Scott Ausbrooks, geohazards supervisor for AGS, told CNN in December that while earthquakes aren’t unusual in Arkansas, the frequency is. Indeed, they’ve had a 1,200 percent increase in earthquakes over 2009 data just in the last four months of 2010. All of the quakes registered less than 3 on the Richter Scale; over 98% of them occurred near Guy, where we find the largest concentration of gas wells; and 99% occurred outside the New Madrid Fault zone (circled in red below) where seismic activity is expected, implying they are human induced”


Ok. Like I said some people have never corrected their information. Check this and find a single week without permits issued and I will apologize.


tds, if you had actually done a little bit of research, note: reading denier web sites does not count as research, you would have found that wells were in fact stopped and shut down. The wells were disposal wells which seem to be the major cause of the earthquakes.


“In March 2011, Arkansas stopped developing new injection wells in a small area of the state after a series of earthquakes, the largest of which reached magnitude 4.7.

Well operators plugged four wells due to the order, whereas more than 700 wells remain in use in the state, Lawrence Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, said in an email”.

I always get a chuckle out of how wrong the deniers can be especially since if they were in fact “skeptical” as they claim, they would have checked reliable sources.

Yes very well researched and well-written article. That is because it does not classify these wells as fracking. Many articles make outright statements that the Arkansas earthquakes were caused by the fracking. I never denied that they shut down 4 disposal wells. Also to qualify as a shill I would have to hide the fact that I work in this industry. Never denied that. Do I deny global warming? Nope. Just think that truth and accuracy would be a better way to that goal. The USA will use gas or switch back to coal. If we can get this economy turned around then we should us make efforts of leaps and bounds to wean ourselves from petroleum use? Any reduction in domestic production sends money out of this country and right in the hands of countries that would rather see us dead. So do we ban gas production in the US and go back to buying it from third world countries where we have no control, or keep it here where we can tighten regulation on emissions? Find some more names for me!

That downvote really hurt my feelings.

Further more much of the third world has signed on to Kyoto.  (They are taking the brunt after all.)


Coal?  Good point.  Yes, its cleaner than natural gas.  If you believe industry sources you have 26% of all methane emmissions from natural gas.  Methane is 33 times stronger in the short term, and 105 times stronger in the near term (20 years).  (This research assumes, that all natural gas is exclusively fed to power plants.  Which is of course, not true.)


Ingraffea\Howarth adapted the above to reality, and concluded that coal is 20% cleaner than fracked natural gas.


Include all the chemical poisons released when coal is burnt.  By that measure, coal is infintely worse than natgas.

I don’t deny that methane is a lot stronger green house gas. As for the fugitive methane, clean it up! My favorite pastime is fishing some of the pristine streams and rivers in Arkansas. But the fact is that you cannot eat the fish in many of them because of the mercury contamination. I have good reason to hate the coal industry! As for Ingraffea\Howarth, i have read their reports. The problem with them is that many technicals of the industry I know first hand. This information and figures are greatly exaggerated, some just outright wrong. I can only assume that if they will exaggerate the things I know then they probably exaggerate every bit of technical information they write. So if we take information like this in front of a congressional hearing the oil and gas industry will rip it to shreds and send them down the road. That is what I am talking about when I say we should produce information that is accurate.

Precisely what numbers are exagerated?

I’ve read an industry rebuttal, and it starts by agreeing 100% that the numbers are right.  Ingraffea \ Howarth are not resting on the potentially bigger numbers.  Its the smaller unexagerated ones that make coal look good (20% less Carbon).

The larger numbers, while interesting talking points are not at all the thrust of their report.

So… here’s a fact, the industry knows its leaking all this methane, buuut… it won’t do anything unless someone beats them with a stick?

Here’s, an industry rebuttal, Page 37;


Point 1:  “While their low-end estimate of total leakages from well drilling through delivery(3.6%) is consistent with the EPA (2011) methane leakage rate of ~2.2% of production, and consistent with previous estimates in peer reviewed studies, theirhigh end estimate of 7.9% is unreasonably large and misleading.”

Whew… good thing they didn’t use 7.9%!

Point 2:  Industry claims to be trying to clean up its act..  Looks right… I can’t wait until the industry releases some data (and not a PR campaign) explaining how its fixed up all its leaks.

Point 3: Don’t like the 20 year time frame.

Whew!  Good thing they used the 100 year time frame for their conclusions.

Point 4: They think its unreasonable to think that natural gas is pumped to homes when comparing to coal power generation.  (Coal isn’t exactly shipped to homes anymore.)

I’m not smoking the right stuff to understand where this BS rebuttal comes from.  Maybe the industry should just stick a cork in every natural gas furnace in North America?

I never said that they did not shut down a disposal well. The simple point that you are missing is that they do not fracture a disposal well. Arkansas has about 700 disposal wells in the state. Many of them 30 or more years old. It just so happened that four new ones were in the Guy Arkansas area. They closed them and the earthquake dropped to near normal levels in a few days. As for any fracking they never stopped it. It web page i sent you is the legal records of wells and completions. You can search the wells and find complete information on fracking and stages in the well data tab. If you think it is not accurate then you can get the energy company in a lot of trouble by proving it. Like i say many web sites still have it stated as fracking was the cause and now disseminating wrong information or just too embarrassed to admit they were wrong.

You are typical of blinkered deniers, you only see the part of the problem which does not affect you personally. The reason that the disposal wells were shut down is because the huge quantity of polluted water from frakking operations was overloading them and causing problems (earthquakes).

When looking at the problems with frakking, or any technology for that matter, you have to look at the complete picture and not just isolate the various components then say “frakking is OK because the tiny bit I looked at (I only looked at that part because I know other parts are bad) is not a problem”.

Disposal of the contaminated water associated with frakking is one of the major concerns people have, it is just not the frakking itself.

The whole drilling industry in the US and other jurisdictions with no or very lax regulatory controls are causing their own problems because they try and get away with the very least amount of environmental stewardship that they can get away with.

He’s usually quoting real and valid facts, and most of us are talking at cross ways. (Kind of a good thing since we can learn more.)

He’s arguing jobs, cleaning up mess, and its all perfectly safe.  You and indeed desmogblog are arguing environment.

From my perspective, I don’t see a need to support an industry that is heavily polluting, exporting, just so I can get some jobs and tax money.  But that is just my opinion.  I think we should pull the plug on subsidies and throw the regulation book at them.

On the other hand, there are few industries that don’t have skeletons in their closets.


I’m here because I’m anti-carbon FYI.