Calls for Better Fracking Regulations on Day of Action

By Mary Kuhlman, 6/6/16, Ohio Public News Service

COLUMBUS, Ohio – While oil and gas drilling has slowed in Ohio in the past year, fracking opponents say the impacts continue to threaten the fabric of communities.

The Frackfree America National Coalition, based in Youngstown, on Tuesday is sponsoring a National Day of Action on fracking with events scheduled in Ohio and other states to call attention to problems associated with fracking, including toxic waste, pipelines, spills and leaks, and earthquakes linked to injection wells.

Amalie Lipstreu, policy program coordinator for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, says communities need more protection.

“People who depend on our government to protect us from these harmful environmental impacts are concerned because we don’t have those necessary regulations in place to protect communities from the harmful impacts of fracking,” she states.

Lipstreu notes that most gas drilling and extraction is exempt from the Safe Water Drinking Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.

More than a dozen actions will be held Tuesday in Ohio, including an event at Bluebird Farm in Harrison County, an organic operation currently threatened by the proposed Utopia pipeline.

Supporters argue fracking supports more than 2 million jobs nationally and boosts local economies.

But Lipstreu counters that the short-term benefits do not outweigh the long-term costs to the water and land that communities rely on.

“The land is our grocery store, the grocery store for our families and communities,” she stresses. “And for those communities to thrive and survive, we really depend on that healthy land. ”

Lipstreu adds organic farms, which must meet strict guidelines for certification, are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of fracking with 20 percent of all organic farms in the U.S. located within close proximity to a hydraulic fracturing operation.