To the Editor:
I had the opportunity to stand before Athens City Council Monday night to share my opinion on industrial operations that could have an impact on our air, water and soil. That is, I had a chance to tell Council how I feel about horizontal hydraulic fracturing.
I didn't do it. But one after another my fellow community members did, and they shared the same concerns I have. Fact after fact, they expressed their anxieties over possible water contamination, air pollution, the impact to the economy and the impact to our health.
I guess I didn't think I had anything to add that was really worthy. Or maybe it's my fear of public speaking? But what I realize now is I do have something to add. I'm a Clean Water Fellow with the Ohio Sierra Club, and a good portion of my duties includes outreach to the community in regards to the threats of fracking. I spend a lot of my time tabling at the Farmers Market and local festivals.
While I know for certain how devastating fracking can be to our environment, it seems spouting off fact after fact of these dangers never really makes the impact I'm looking for. I guess it's because you can find just as much positive propaganda about fracking as you can find negative on the web. But what I've never read, nor heard through the numerous conversations I've had with people who are actually dealing with fracking in their community, is a single positive story about a fracking operation. Not one.
What I do hear, however, are the horror stories of communities being torn apart, roads being worn thin, noise so loud you can't sleep, and a smell so foul it's unimaginable. Just this weekend I spoke to a woman from Morgantown, W.Va., who told me drillers will be fracking 1,500 feet from the city's water supply. It's the first time a fracking operation has been done so close to such a vast water supply, and it's also within city limits.
I fear that Athens will be next if we don't take the proper steps in protecting our community. I dread the day I find out a lease has been signed within city limits; all will be lost if that happens.
Student at Ohio University
East State Street