Drilling. Fracking. Well site. Pipelines. Lawsuits.

All of these terms have become second nature to almost everyone living in the eastern part of Ohio and western Pennsylvania in a short amount of time.

The changes in the landscape have also came at a record pace. Drive down many country roads or state highways and there are well pads on both sides. If the well pads don’t catch your eye, then the increasing truck traffic will.

No matter what side of the issue you are on, either pro-fracking or anti-fracking, the shale industry is definitely the topic of conversation.

However some recent arrests have caught my eye regarding fracking and injection well protesters. The most notable one for me was in Clearfield, Pa. And don’t get me wrong, I’m all for free speech, assembly and press. However (and this is just my opinion), some common sense might be necessary.

Protesters were demonstrating against hydraulic fracturing at a state forest, which eventually led to the EQT Corp. drilling rig being shut down. Over 150 demonstrators had blocked an access road for trucks headed to the rig.

I understand this part. What I don’t understand is this: Two activists were sitting 75 feet in the air on a tree platform that had been connected to a cable stretched across the access road. If a truck or machine were to cross the cable and cut through it, the tree sitters would fall. To me, it seems like this might not be the best idea.

Three protesters were also recently arrested in Trumbull County, Ohio, at an injection well site in Vienna. One protester locked himself to the gate to prevent trucks carrying brine waste from reaching the well. Two others were arrested.

I understand the concern and discontent. But my question is whether or not there is a better way to get questions answered and find out the information.

Let’s face it, many of these people ended up arrested in jail. It just seems like it is costing the protester money and nothing is solved with this approach.

I’m sure this is not the end of the protesters.

Or the end of the conversation, just enter a restaurant or store and there is a conversation going on about the shale.

Maybe that’s what we need, more conversations about hydraulic fracturing as well. To be fair, we have to remember that it is not a new technique. It was developed in the late 1940s. It’s just that it wasn’t used in the amounts we are using now.

And maybe, it will just take time for the regions to know just what kind of benefits and downfalls will come as a result.

In the end, the answer may simply be more conversations about the shale industry and the entire fracking process.

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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