Conflicting Groups Discuss Fracking With Athens County Commissioners

By
WOUB Staff Writer

Dateline
Updated Wed, Feb 1, 2012 8:19 am

Various groups of Athens County residents met with commissioners this morning to discuss ways to regulate fracking. 

Commissioners are trying to form an advisory committee meant to find common ground between interest groups. 
 
Some Athens residents are concerned about potential opposition from commissioners to a draft resolution aiming to protect the community against environmental dangers of fracking.
 
Another group of landowners thinks fracking is already regulated enough and stepped by the board today to show they support the practice. 
 
"As a landowner in Athens County, I do stand and support of environmentally responsible and landowner-friendly horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that do not restrict economic growth in our region," said Drew Wolfe.
 
Heather Cantino belongs to the committee urging the draft resolution. She says new fracking techniques need more regulations.  "A lot of the data that you heard earlier is out of date. There are documented contaminations and incidents, thousands of them throughout the country. We're talking about permanent damage to our entire water supply in our county that is highly likely given the current state of regulations," said Cantino.
 
Some are worried data provided by industries and leasing landowners are not taken seriously.
 
"It doesn't make it invalid information just because it's coming from somebody that's going to profit from it," said Pat Smith, a financial planner.
 
Commissioners say they want to take all viewpoints into consideration.  "That's one of the reasons we're going to form this strategic advisory committee, because it is our hope to get people from both sides of the issue and bring them together. And hopefully they can all find common ground that can help the county move forward in a progressive way," said Commissioner Mark Sullivan.
 
Sullivan expects it will take 3 weeks to get the committee together. 
 
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