Post Editorial: Yield to the Facts: Before taking position on fracking, know both sides of the argument

News Section:

Ohio is extremely lucky to be graced with some of Mother Nature’s finest attributes for natural resources. We have hills for wind turbines, flat land to farm and cultivate and rivers for hydroelectric power. Now, one more way of extracting Ohio’s resources is creeping closer and closer to Athens — hydraulic fracturing.

Lately, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has dominated council meetings and headlines as Cunningham Energy begins to buy and lease land in Athens County so they can begin extracting natural gas from the shale that lies beneath us.

Athens sits on top of the Utica Shale making it appealing for energy companies to drill for natural gas. However, in general, both Athens and Ohio residents seem pretty torn between favoring fracking or being against it.

But neither side seems completely capable of articulating its position. Those opposing fracking seem to be doing so based solely on principle while those that support it seem oblivious to the potential dangers.

Fracking does have its dangers, and it is not closely regulated. It has been shown to pollute the air water and soil if not controlled. Right now, the Halliburton Loophole does not give the EPA rights to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It allows energy companies to drill without disclosing the chemicals they are using.

Not disclosing chemicals used in the process gives the impression that the chemicals are bad for the environment. It’s not right for companies to be injecting chemicals that could not only harm people — but harm our other resources as well. There needs to be more regulations and safety requirements or fracking could become really dangerous.

With that being said, fracking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With the proper regulations and safety requirements, fracking can be an effective extraction method. Right now, the U.S. EPA is doing a study on the possible dangers of fracking for completion next winter, and the matter been brought to the attention of the U.S. Congress.

The moral is that we must look at both sides of the story. Proper fracking can benefit our society. If Ohio steps up and adds safety requirements and regulations to fracking, then it can be done in a way that will neither harm people nor the environment. We need to slow down and find a way for it to be safer before we decide we are against it.

As responsible citizens, we must educate ourselves before we decide how we feel about an issue that could change the course of our state’s history and economy. 

Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post’s executive editors.

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