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Ohio Utica Shale

Musicians band together in anti-fracking campaign

By Bob Downing Published: August 30, 2012

Yoko Ono said it was not hard to recruit more than 180 artists to help convince Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York not to allow natural gas drilling in the macrellus shale through the hydraulic fracturing process known as fracking.

She reached out to some friends and soon, dozens of artists, many of them with homes in New York, agreed to publicly join the campaign.

Ms. Ono said she was leaving it up to the artists to design their own advocacy. “When people say, “What can I do?” I say, “think creatively,”” she said during an interview. “I’m thinking about spirit and brains. We have the brains and the spirit.”

She and her son, Sean Lennon, planned to formally announce their “Artists Against Fracking” coalition and said they had sent a letter to Governor Cuomo requesting a meeting.

The artists and their allies, including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, David Geffen and Deepak Chopra, are jumping into the debate over fracking at the 11th hour, just as New York officials are finalizing regulations to govern the new drilling. A decision is expected soon over whether and where fracking will be allowed in New York State, and under what conditions.

Mother and son said the artists would use their sway with their fan base to spread the message through social media and other events that fracking threatens watersheds and wilderness areas. Mr. Lennon wrote evocatively in an opinion piece in The Times on Tuesday about spending time on the family farm Ms. Ono and John Lennon bought in the Catskills in the 1970s before he was born.

“What distinguishes us is that we have the ear of our audiences and we have a collective presence,” Mr. Lennon said of the artists.

Ms. Ono, who said she’s been quietly supporting the anti-fracking cause for two years, wants New York to move away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy and become “an ecologically beautiful model state.”

She and Mr. Lennon spoke passionately about their hopes for the coalition, and as relatives often do, kept interrupting each other.

“Let me just finish,” said Mr. Lennon, 36.

“Let me say something,” said Ms. Ono, 79, wearing her trademark dark oval–shape glasses.

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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.