Bob Downing

KENT: Local anti-fracking activists Dr. Ted Voneida and George Sosebee on Thursday helped Environment Ohio unveil a new booklet on shale-drilling horror stories.

The booklet on contamination, medical problems and declining property values around drilling sites was presented to the media at a chilly news conference on the banks of the Cuyahoga River in Kent’s Franklin Mills River Edge Park.

Environment America held similar distribution events in six other states Thursday.

“Behind the alarming numbers that outline fracking’s environmental impacts, there are real people whose lives have been gravely impacted by these polluting practices,” said Christian Adams of Environment Ohio. “These are their stories, and it is our responsibility to heed their words of warning on fracking.”

Such stories are evidence that states are not protecting residents from the threat of hydaulic fracturing or fracking, Adams said.

Shalefield Stories: Personal and Collected Testimonies is a 48-page booklet put together by the Pittsburgh-based grass-roots group Friends of the Harmed.

The book includes accounts from 20 individuals from Ohio and other states, although stories about people in Pennsylvania dominate the book.

Among the accounts are one from Jaime Frederick of Coitsville in Mahoning County. She reports that she became ill and underwent six surgeries in the past three years after drillers moved into her neighborhood, drilling 25 wells and contaminating her family’s well.

Shalefield Stories also includes a list of 73 individuals, families and groups adversely affected by shale drilling in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, Texas and Wyoming.

Industry spokesmen were not expecting to be impressed by the book.

“I have seen their work, and there is not a single thing they have done to date that has been accurate or truthful. I’m not holding out much hope for this one either,” said Shawn Bennett, a spokesman for Energy in Depth-Ohio, a pro-drilling trade group.

Friends of the Harmed is working with faith groups, public health researchers, eco-groups and social justice groups to support affected families in Western Pennsylvania. For details, go to http://thomasmertoncenter.org.

To view the book, go to www.environmentohio.org. You can order a copy of the book from the Steel Valley Printers, 107 E. Eighth Ave., Homestead, PA 15120. Call 412-461-5650.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or bdowning@thebeaconjournal.com.