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Ohio Utica Shale

Pollution from drilling needs federal oversight, professor says

By Bob Downing Published: May 31, 2012

Air and water pollution from gas and oil drilling moves across state lines, so the drilling should be regulated by the federal government, a Cornell University professor said.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking releases benzene and ozone into the air and can pollute surface water, testified Robert Howarth,  a critic of drilling and a professor of ecology and environmental biology.

Much more research is needed to determine whether hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a threat to human health and the environment, he said.

He was testifying today before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Bloomberg News reported.

At present, oversight of drilling falls largely on the states.

His view was opposed by officials of producing states including Pennsylvania and Okalhoma in prepared comments.

"The states are light years ahead of the federal government in terms of experience and know-how about their individual states and about the science and technique of hydraulic fracturing," said Michael Krancer, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

For Howarth's full comments, go to





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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.