To the Editor:
I was sorry to read that Dennis "Mudsock" Powell believes fracking "has been highly effective at producing fuel for an energy-starved country" and there isn't "any particular reason to oppose it." Insufficient regulation of deep-shale extraction and waste disposal has created numerous health and environmental problems.
Respiratory and other health problems are commonplace in areas of horizontal hydraulic fracturing. Containment ponds holding huge volumes of toxic fracking fluid have had their dams fail or have overflowed during heavy rain. The ODNR claims to have "cradle to grave" tracking of frack wastewater, while the recently reported illegal dumping into the Mahoning and other rivers is proof they're dropping the baby. There is a lot more research and regulation needed in this area! As an ex-New Yorker, I'd ask, if an oil company wanted to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge, would you buy it?
As far as the claim of helping an energy-starved country, are you talking about somewhere in Europe or Asia? The energy companies are hoping to sell U.S. extracted natural gas overseas, where they can get $15 per barrel, instead of $3 per barrel domestically. They are actively lobbying Congress for natural gas exporting, and this will no doubt lead to record profits for the Exxon/Mobil multinational conglomerate, once again.
Furthermore, in our state of Ohio, we charge a pittance of a severance tax on oil and gas production compared to neighboring states. So let's drill here, dispose of the waste here, charge peanuts for it, and ship it overseas. Great plan for corporate prosperity with local indemnity!
The Bill of Rights Committee may have a Sisyphian battle ahead of them, legally and politically. However, theirs and similar efforts in other Ohio cities continue to highlight the huge question of fracking and the current inability of communities to control their local destiny. I applaud them for that. Until science and industry can definitively prove that there is no harm done, public pressure is needed for more research, regulation and local control.