Athens Mayor Wants Moratorium On Fracking Process

By
Bethany Venable

Dateline
Updated Thu, Dec 29, 2011 9:39 am

Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl says although city council recently passed a resolution expressing concern over the possible effects from a gas-extraction process known as fracking, they don't have the clout to stop it from coming to Athens.

"Actually, if you read the fine print in the Ohio Revised Code, we have very little jurisdiction over the gas line, gas well drilling, the placement or the negotiation," says Wiehl.
 
Wiehl addressed the issue in his weekly press conference yesterday.
 
He says he has heard many concerns about the environmental consequences, as well as worry the state's severance tax isn't high enough to offset the monetary costs of removing natural resources. "Hopefully, the state knows what it's doing and hopefully, we will see the benefits of it and that will not just remain in Columbus," said Wiehl.
 
He wants to hold off on drilling in favor of more education. "if I had my druthers, I'd say let's call for a moratorium on the process. More so because we need to make sure we do it right.  The oil in the shale has been there, depending if you are talking about Uitca or Marcellus, between 250 and 500 million years, so therefore a couple of years of moratorium would not hurt," he explained.
 
Fracking proponents argue the process is safe and tapping into the shale regions beneath southeast Ohio will bring jobs to the state.
 
Wiehl says job creation is a possibility, but with more jobs comes more people to the area and a higher rate of road travel or cost of commodities.
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