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Ohio Utica Shale

Environment Ohio on 'Promised Land' movie

By Bob Downing Published: January 4, 2013

From Environment Ohio:

As the new Matt Damon movie, Promised Land, opened in theaters today, Environment Ohio sounded the alarm about the very real damage fracking is doing in here in Ohio.

“Spoiler alert: The truth about fracking is even worse than what you see in the movie,” said Environment Ohio State Policy Advocate Julian Boggs. “Not only is fracking in eastern Ohio causing the exact type of destruction and division depicted in the movie, but the Buckeye State is fast becoming the region’s dumping ground for the toxic, hazardous waste created from fracking. That’s not a distinction that any state wants.”

Promised Land is set in a fictional town in western Pennsylvania, where a natural gas salesman works to convince farmers to hand over the rights to their land to allow hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), the controversial form of gas drilling that injects chemical-laden fluid deep into the ground to force natural gas to the surface. Damon’s character meets resistance from the community as more and more residents consider the terrible effects that fracking could have on their land, water and health.

Fracking is far more than a Hollywood fable. For viewers who want to learn more about fracking’s impact on real people, Environment Ohio recommends Marcellus Shale Stories – a short film by Environment Ohio’s Pennsylvania affiliate in which real residents tell their personal stories of how fracking has affected their lives, their health and their environment.

In addition, Environment Ohio cites the following examples of fracking damage here in Ohio:

  • In several communities – including Bainbridge, Ohio[1], residents’ drinking water wells have been contaminated with dangerous levels of methane and/or toxic chemicals from fracking;


  • In 2011, Ohio injected 12.2 million barrels of fracking waste into the ground – more than half of that waste was imported from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.


  • Fracking wastewater - laced with cancer-causing chemicals and even radioactive materials - has contaminated drinking water sources from Pennsylvania to New Mexico.[2]


Moreover, the fracking boom is turning forest acres and rural landscapes into industrial zones and releasing global warming pollution. And yet the dirty drilling practice is exempt from key provisions of our nation’s environmental laws, including the law that governs disposal of hazardous waste.

And so, as the storyline of Promised Land largely plays out on the large screen, Environment Ohio is seeking to protect Ohio from the influx of toxic and sometime radioactive waste caused by fracking.

“I don’t know anyone who wants their state to become a dumping ground for toxic waste,” said Boggs. “Our first step should be to ban the most egregious practices for dumping, like open pits and using the stuff as a de-icer on roads; and start regulating fracking waste as the hazardous material that it is. Ultimately, the dilemma of what to do with the waste should call into question whether this whole fracking business is really worth the trouble.”



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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.