Bob Downing

Opponents of natural gas production by hydraulic fracturing or fracking clashed with U.S. House Republicans at a hearing today in Ohio aimed to promote the economic benefits of the extraction process.


U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, told the House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources that drilling for natural gas in Ohio and other states could create 200,000 jobs at the hearing in Steubenville.


Opponents like Annie Lukins, 21, of Cleveland, said crews traveling with the companies will get the jobs, not locals. She said she supports a ban on fracking. She made her comments after being asked to leave the meeting for interrupting with anti-fracking comments.


The hearing focused largely on the potential financial impacts from developing the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and perhaps New York, plus the Utica shale in eastern Ohio.


The meeting was chaired by U.S. Rep. Doug Lanborn, R-Colo.


An Ohio State University studied indicated that drilling into the Utica shale might produce 20,000 new jobs, less than pro-industry groups have said.


Republicans have expressed concern that new restrictions on drilling on federal lands proposed by the Obama Administration could hurt shale development.