Greed turns land into industrial zone


Letter to the Editor,

The recently released nonpeer-reviewed 26-page report prepared by Cleveland State University’s Energy Policy Center, “Economic Impact of the Muskingum Conservancy District on the Regional Economy, 2014-2022,” is quite simply an attempt by MWCD to justify destroying the environment surrounding the MWCD watershed areas for short-term economic gains.

The report was concerned with economic impacts and did not include the environmental impacts from this development — the development being selling water for fracking, selling leases for fracking and receiving royalties from fracking.

Peer-reviewed studies and the citizens living in the 18-county region of the MWCD can provide some data as to the impacts associated with fracking. The recently released 637-page report, “Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure, Ninth Edition, Oct. 19, 2023,” says, “Our examination uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which human health depends.”

A Feb. 12, 2021 study published by the Ohio River Valley Institute, a nonprofit research center, found the following: “Jobs, personal income and population all declined between 2008 and 2019 in the 22 Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia counties that produce 90% of Appalachia’s natural gas.”

This included the MWCD counties of Belmont, Carroll, Guernsey, Harrison and Noble, which saw a net job loss of over 8% and a population loss of over 5%, revealing that while the bank account of MWCD grew, the overall number of jobs and incomes in these counties did not.

Accident reports obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request to the ODNR illustrate this industry is anything but safe. Just since 2018 the ODNR data has documented over 800 accidents considered serious enough to require inspectors, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and hazmat intervention to remediate the sites. Ohio has some of the most lenient setbacks for a well pad: 150 feet from a property boundary.

Over 100 studies have documented hazardous and carcinogenic chemical compounds in the air around fracking sites. “Evidence shows that compressor stations along natural gas pipelines are sources of air pollutant exposures that contribute to adverse human health outcomes.”

Oil and gas wells are the single largest source of human-caused methane gas emissions. Additionally, fracking produces millions of gallons of waste fluids containing heavy metals, salts and radionuclides that are injected into Class II injection wells.

MWCD might “shield the well pads from public view,” but those of us who live on or near MWCD property experience the negative impacts of fracking every day. We are losing forest acreage to well pads, infrastructure, roads and pipelines. We hear noise pollution and see light pollution from flaring. We are witnessing MWCD’s greed turn the landscape into an industrial zone while our property values diminish.

Unlike the MWCD, real stewards of the environment do not embrace a process that contributes to climate change and destroys our land, air and water.

Dr. Randi Pokladnik

Uhrichsville, Tappan Lake

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load