WNF correct to take look at ‘fracking’

Published 8:51 am Friday, November 18, 2011

The Wayne National Forest leadership absolutely got it right this week when it announced that more than 3,000 acres of public land will not be included in an upcoming gas and oil lease sale, stemming from concerns about the environmental damage that could be caused.

At issue is deep horizontal drilling and lateral hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking,” and exactly how it could affect forest surface land and water quality.

These new methods of extraction, which are being used in the Utica and Marcellus Shale formations spanning Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, have been getting lots of attention lately.

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Both these technological advancements are relatively new and the impact on surface land, groundwater and the overall ecological system has not been fully studied and will not be for several months or several years.

Access to these natural resources could be a tremendous benefit to Ohio and the entire nation’s economy. But we cannot rush to judgment simply because of the dollar signs in our eyes.

A variety of state and federal regulations have been proposed and it would be premature to do anything right now.

This issue has to be fully examined before we put our natural resources and thousands of acres of public land on the table.

Putting the brakes on this sale was the right step and may ultimately help move Ohio forward.