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Ohio Utica Shale

Online debate by The Economist: Is fracking worth it?

By Bob Downing Published: February 5, 2013

A press release received today:

Today, The Economist launched an online debate regarding shale gas extraction with the motion "Do the benefits derived from shale gas outweigh the drawbacks of fracking?”

 Shale gas, extracted by hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of rock formations, has transformed America’s energy outlook. The country is set to become self-sufficient in natural gas and could become a big exporter, boosting its economy, while gas substituting for coal in electricity generation has sent carbon emissions plunging. But extracting shale gas is controversial. Opponents claim that fracking and other consequences of extracting shale gas harm the environment through poor practices, leading to water pollution, methane leakage and seismic activity, as well as the industrialisation of the countryside—and big investments are being made in a fossil fuel rather than renewable energy. The gas industry and those in favour of shale gas dismiss most of these assertions as either vastly trumped up or plain wrong. Which side is right?

 Defending the proposition is Myers Jaffe, executive director for energy and sustainability at the University of California, Davis.Contesting the motion is Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. The debate will be moderated by Simon Wright, energy and commodities correspondent, The Economist. Josh Fox, environmental activist and director of the 2010 “Gasland” documentary, and Erik Milito, Director of Upstream and Industry Operations, American Petroleum Institute, will provide guest commentary.

 The debate, which is sponsored by Statoil, runs from February 5-February 15 at

 The Economist Debate Series is an open community forum – no paid subscription is necessary and anyone can participate.



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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.