It’s no secret that I’ve been covering a lot of Marcellus and Utica shale stories in the past few months. Now, other stories are popping up, such as the Class II brine injection wells as a result of the drilling in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

No matter on which side of the issue you are on, it’s been pretty evident to see the number of people who have kept working this January and many of those jobs have been tied to the shale industry. The surveyors are working like crazy, the water haulers are on the road and trucks carrying limestone and other materials are not hard to find right outside of the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

So here is my issue: A new poll from the Quinnipiac University shows 72 percent of Ohioans want Ohio to stop hydraulic fracturing, or fracing (industry officials are saying no k) until it is proven safe.

What? That many? How did so many landowners sign leases and not feel that it was safe? The results are supposed to accurately depict Ohio’s population, right?

The research information was released by a group called NEOGAP, a non-profit community advocacy group, according to a press release by the group. NEOGAP stands for the Network for Oil and Gas Accountability and Protection. They are asking the governor to stop fracing until it can be proven safe.

I’m not saying the shale industry is or isn’t safe, but I had hoped more people had done their research than didn’t do it when it came to signing oil and gas leases.

The safety thing can be debated by both sides. And I don’t mean just the fracing process itself; I mean the whole industry. Dangers are attached to every part of the process, from hauling water to transporting the gas through the pipelines that are being planned.

But like geologist, Dr. Jeffrey Dick, professor at YSU said this week, “there is risk in everything we do, it’s just a matter of how much risk you are willing to take.”

I’m gathering from the amount of people excited about their leases and the possibility of getting wells in the area that it is a risk they are willing to take.

(Just like many professions, sometimes my assignments take place in the rain! Unfortunately, it was pouring the day I toured the Chesapeake drilling site in Carrollton, Ohio, off of state Route 39. I apologize for the pictures not turning out as I had hoped.)

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses with her husband, Kurt. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism.
Kristy Foster Seachrist
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