In Carrollton, Ohio natural-gas drilling and coal mining are nothing new. Geologists have known for decades that the Utica and Mercellus shales make up a vast and relatively untapped natural gas and oil reservoir in eastern Ohio. State officials, according to the Akron Beacon Journal Online, estimate the reservoir contains roughly 5.5 billion barrels of propane, butane and oil, enough natural gas to fuel Ohio for 21 years.
In late May this past summer, Chesapeake Energy drilled down more than a mile and engraved a long horizontal shaft through Utica shale − a flaky black rock. If given permission by the state, high-pressure pumps will replace the drilling rig. Gallons of water, chemicals and sand will erode the shale, allowing precious natural gas, oil, butane and propane to escape to the surface.
Such a technique is referred to as “fracking.” Although on one hand, “fracking” allows Ohio energy companies to finally utilize Ohio’s untapped oil and gas reservoirs on the other it is causing massive debate among Ohio environmentalists and Ohio gas industry.
Supporters of shale drilling say such methods will expand oil-and-gas industry and provide thousands of Ohio jobs. Respectable and well-paid jobs that focus on producing a cheap and “clean” energy supply that could last for generations to come.
Environmentalists, on the other hand, say “fracking” is an environmental nightmare. A nightmare in essence that will poison Ohio soils, water and air. Scientist say there is no doubt that such chemicals used during fracturing, in addition to the heavy metals disposed of in the wastewater, pose a enormous threat to groundwater and streams and therefore, to Ohio’s citizens and surrounding neighbors.
Currently, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management have issued permits for 23 wells. On March 31 of this year, oil and gas companies must file reports with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, in order to get permits and gain access to the untapped oil.
There is no telling what the state will decide, but sooner rather than later, Carrollton, Ohio will be target to zealous environmentalists and conservationists everywhere.
Written by Tasha Webber